Conoco Sets TLP Record with Magnolia Field

Conoco, in partnership with Ocean Energy Inc., will install a Tension Leg Platform to produce oil and natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico Magnolia field in nearly 4,700 feet of water, a record depth for this type of floating structure.

Located in Garden Banks blocks 783 and 784 about 180 miles south of Cameron, La., initial estimates call for the $600 million deepwater development project to deliver up to 150 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBOE).

"The selection of TLP technology to develop the Magnolia field follows a pioneering trend that Conoco began in 1984 when we installed the world's first TLP in the U.K. North Sea Hutton field," said Rob McKee, Conoco's executive vice president, exploration production. "We further developed TLP technology with other world firsts -- the first tension leg well platform (TLWP) installed in the Conoco-operated Jolliet field in 1989 in the Gulf of Mexico, and the first concrete TLP in the Heidrun field in 1995 in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea."

Production facilities will be designed to handle 50,000 barrels of oil and 150 million standard cubic feet of gas per day. Eight wells are planned and first production from the Magnolia field is anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2004, with peak production occurring in 2005.

ABB Lummus Global Americas of Houston has been awarded a contract for design, procurement, project management and construction services for the TLP hull and associated systems. This innovative deepwater hull will consist of four circular columns connected at the bottom by rectangular pontoons. At the base of each column, a pontoon will extend outward to support two tethers, which will be connected to pile foundations on the seabed.

ABB LGA has a long history with TLPs. Past Gulf of Mexico projects include Jolliet, Auger, Mars, Ram/Powell, Juliet, Ursa, Marlin and Brutus. Current projects include the groundbreaking West African-Kizomba A project, now under construction.

Alliance Engineering of Houston has been awarded the contract for topsides engineering, procurement and project management services. The topsides design will incorporate state-of-the-art lightweight design technology, which will reduce costs and preserve flexibility in future production operations. Alliance's lightweight topside designs have been included on several projects, including Enchilada, Morpeth, Allegheny, Prince and Horn Mountain. In addition, Alliance is currently designing topsides for the Marco Polo deepwater development in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The selection of ABB and Alliance as our engineering partners is based upon a combination of expertise, experience and aligned corporate cultures," said Glenn Schaaf, deepwater development manager for Conoco. "Execution of this project safely, on schedule and within budget are shared goals of all participants."

Conoco, as operator, holds a 75-percent interest in the field with Ocean owning the remaining 25-percent.