Texaco's Petronius Platform Installation Completed in Gulf of Mexico

Texaco has successfully installed the second deck module of its Petronius compliant tower platform offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. The installation contractor Saipem lifted the 3,850-ton deck module and set it on the existing tower on Friday, April 28. The $500 million project stands in 1,754 feet of water, over 2001 feet tall above the seafloor, making it the world's tallest freestanding structure.

The Petronius compliant tower structure is located in Viosca Knoll Block 786, about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans. The installation of this second deck module represents a key milestone in bringing this significant deepwater discovery to production. The Petronius platform has maximum production capacity of 60,000 barrels of oil per day and 100 million cubic feet of gas per day, and is expected to begin production by October 2000. The Petronius field was discovered in 1995 and contains estimated recoverable reserves of 80-100 million barrels of oil equivalent.

The South Deck Module was built to replace the original module, which was lost during its offshore lift in December 1998. After the incident, Texaco and its partner Marathon assembled a project team tasked with reducing construction time from the original 27-month period. The replacement module, containing production equipment, waterflood equipment, and crew quarters, was built in 12 months at Gulf Island Fabrication in Houma, La. Saipem's S7000 derrick barge used one of its two 7,700 ton capacity cranes to perform the lift.

Texaco owns 50-percent of the Petronius field and serves as operator. The other 50-percent is owned by Marathon Oil Company, a unit of the USX Marathon Group (NYSE: MRO), part of the USX corporation.

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