BJ Completes Na Kika Pipeline Pre-Commissioning for Shell

BJ Process and Pipeline Services (BJ PPS) has completed a major contract to provide specialised pipeline services for Shell Exploration & Production Company's offshore Gulf of Mexico business unit.

BJ PPS was awarded a contract by Shell in 2002 to supply a range of pre-commissioning services for the Na Kika pipeline system, one of the most complex pipeline projects that BJ has undertaken in the Gulf of Mexico.

Deepest Flowline Extends to Water Depths of 7,600 Feet

The Na Kika pipeline network gathers oil and gas from Mississippi Canyon 474 and the surrounding area. The oil is exported to an existing platform in MP69 and the gas to MP 260. Existing pipelines then transport the oil and gas to shore.

The system is extensive, involving a complicated network of both gas and oil export pipelines and flowlines. These include a) a 24" x 74.8- mile-long gas export pipeline, including a 7-mile-long 20" section at the host in MC 474, b) an 18" x 74.6- mile-long oil export pipeline, c) a 10"x16" x 27- mile-long north oil flowline, d) an 8"x12" x 25.7- mile-long south oil flowline, and e) an 8" x 31.25 mile south gas flowline. Of particular note is the Coulomb gas flowline, which is 8" x 26 miles in length, and extends to water depths of 7,600 feet, making it the world's deepest gas flowline.

Schedule Milestones

BJ PPS provided hydrotesting, flushing, dewatering, drying, leak testing, glycol swabbing, vacuum drying and nitrogen purging services. Operations commenced in October 2002, and first gas was achieved on November 25th 2003, with the final phase completed in March 2004. Gas export pipeline dewatering and drying was accomplished much sooner than expected and took this task off critical path.

Houston-based BJ PPS personnel carried out all related services for Shell from the Na Kika Platform, located in water depths of 6,300 feet. All aspects of this intricate pre-commissioning programme were carried out by BJ PPS without extensive use of subcontractors. "The Na Kika project was challenging for a number of reasons, including the water depths in which we were working and the limited space on the Na Kika Platform," said John Adams, general manager of BJ PPS. "In order to cope with the very small equipment laydown area, a great deal of detailed engineering and planning was required to ensure that we would be able to fit all the necessary equipment on the platform. If you consider that at one point, we had 38 engineers and technicians working offshore on three platforms, it wasn't easy. Given that the operation was carried out smoothly, with first gas achieved ahead of schedule, it is an outstanding achievement," he added.

During recent years, BJ PPS has carried out a number of pipeline pre-commissioning projects for Shell in the Gulf of Mexico, including the Macaroni, Auger, Ursa and Manatee pipeline systems.