The race is on to produce tomorrow's oil from new and more hostile frontier environments. The construction of the hull of one of the world's deepest oil production facilities is now complete and today it started to make its 8,200 mile journey from the shipyard in Pori, Finland, to Ingleside, Texas.
The massive steel spar structure, which is nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower, and weighs as much as 10,000 family cars, forms part of Shell's most ambitious deepwater offshore oil and gas development ever undertaken and will be the world's deepest spar production facility.
Operating in ultra-deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Perdido spar will float on the surface in nearly 8,000 ft of water and is capable of producing as much as 130,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The spar will be secured in place by nine chain and polyester rope mooring lines, spanning an area of the seafloor roughly the size of downtown Houston.
On the seafloor, 22 wells, each extending more than 14,000 ft from the surface and into the mud and rock beneath the vast Alaminos Canyon, will be linked to the Perdido spar above. Oil will be brought to the surface against the extreme pressure of the deepwater by 1,500 horsepower electric pumps and gas will be separated on the sea floor and naturally rise to the production unit on the surface.
The remotest producing platform in the entire Gulf of Mexico region, Perdido will float 220 miles from Galveston, Texas, and provide living quarters for 150 industry personnel. The helicopter landing deck will also set new industry records, accommodating two long-range Sikorsky S92 helicopters simultaneously, each holding up to 24 passengers and crew.
Following its departure from Finland, the hull will travel by transport barge to Ingleside, Texas, where it will be outfitted for offshore installation before beginning the journey to the deep sea and its final frontier destination in block 857 of the Alaminos Canyon.
Shell, the 35% shareholder of the Perdido Regional Development Spar, is operator on behalf of partners BP (27.5%) and Chevron (37.5%). Perdido is scheduled to begin production towards the end of the decade.
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