The 18 x 88ft suction piles, with a dry weight of 180mT, were installed at a water depth of 8011 ft (2442m) using the Deepwater Crane Vessel (DCV) Balder. HMC's previous record with the Balder was BP Atlantis, installed in 2005 at 2,134m.
HMC was awarded the contract for the installation of the piles, the hull, moorings, and catenary risers (SCR's) April last year and started the execution at the beginning of March this year. HMC expect to complete the last phase of the project at the end of this year.
The success of this operation has been possible thanks to the state-of-the-art competence achieved by using technology based on utilizing remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) mounted suction pile pumps and the Balder Mooring Line Deployment Winch (MLDW).
"A milestone for the vessel and her crew, who have now shown the industry that HMC is capable of operating in water depths of more than two kilometers (8000ft)," said John Reed, HMC's CEO. "To do this successfully requires great skill, effort, and equipment. It also demonstrates [to] our clients that they can rely on HMC's deepwater construction equipment and its built-in back up capabilities."
The Independence Hub is owned by an affiliate of Enterprise Products Partners, LP and Helix Energy Solutions and will be operated by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. Once installed it will be the deepest Floating Offshore Installation (FOI) unit in the world, located in the Gulf of Mexico in Mississippi Canyon block 920 in 8,000-foot water depth. The Independence Hub will initially provide production facilities for 10 independent fields--Atlas, Atlas NW, Cheyenne, Jubilee, Merganser, Mondo, Q, San Jacinto, Spiderman, and Vortex.
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