Helix Breaks Ground on New South Texas Spoolbase Facility

Helix Energy Solutions Group announced that it has broken ground to initiate construction on a new spoolbase facility and service complex to support its Gulf of Mexico operations. The facility will be constructed on the La Quinta Channel in Ingleside, Texas, 15 miles east of Corpus Christi.

"Our deepwater reeled pipelay fleet consisting of the Intrepid, Express and Olympic Triton has outgrown our current spoolbase in Port Arthur. We had an imminent need to establish a larger and more accessible spoolbase and fabrication facility that also could serve our other deepwater vessels such as the Caesar and the MSV Q4000," stated Helix Chief Operating Officer Bart Heijermans. "The new yard will provide us with an increased stalk length of one mile that significantly will reduce vessel time at the dock during spoolup. We also plan to use this facility for double jointing steel catenary risers and the fabrication of subsea structures."

When completed in mid-2009, the 120-acre base will consist of a 200 ft by 300 ft slip with a 32 ft depth for accommodating large offshore vessels, a one-mile-long pipe stalking line, as well as a warehouse and other associated fabrication buildings.

"The primary support activity of the spoolbase will be the preparation of pipe for offshore pipelines by welding the 40' pipe joints end-to-end in long stalks roughly a mile long each," states Paul Byington, Helix Ingleside General Manager of Pipeline Construction. "Then, each of the mile-long stalks will be welded end-to-end while deepwater pipelay vessels reel the pipe stalks onto the onboard reels. The vessels will then transit out to sea and install the pipelines on the sea bed."

According to Byington, the company conducted a three-year search and evaluation of available coastal properties in areas ranging from Mobile Bay, Alabama to Brownsville, Texas. "Since an area deep enough for big ships to come in was required, finding the right spot took considerable time. We looked all over the Gulf of Mexico Gulf Coast before deciding that the Ingleside area was our best choice."

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