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Offshore Oil & Ocean Engineering


July 2012 Issue

BP Starts Up Gulf of Mexico Galapagos Development
BP plc (London, England) in June began the initial start-up of the Galapagos development in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The company expects to bring it into production this year.

The Galapagos development contains three deepwater fields: Isabela, Santiago and Santa Cruz. The fields are being produced using subsea equipment on the floor of the gulf. A new production flowline loop has been added to carry output to the nearby Na Kika host facility, a BP-operated platform located 140 miles southeast of New Orleans, Louisiana, in 6,500 feet of water.

The Na Kika facility, with a production capacity of 130,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, has been modified to handle output from the three fields. Full ramp-up of the project was expected around the end of June.

BP's overall interest in the three-block area is about 56 percent. Noble Energy Inc. (Houston, Texas), Red Willow Offshore LLC (Houston) and Houston Energy L.P. (Houston) are co-owners. BP is the operator of the Isabela field, while Noble Energy operates the Santiago and Santa Cruz fields.

The Galapagos development required the installation of new subsea infrastructure, production risers, topsides, as well as other modifications.

BSEE Orders MWCC Exercise, Hosts Forum on BOP Technology
The U.S. government is requiring Houston, Texas-based Marine Well Containment Co. (MWCC) to conduct a live drill this summer to deploy its capping stack in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) will oversee the tests, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced in May. BSEE tests capping stacks on the surface as part of its responsibility to enforce offshore safety requirements implemented in response to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

The demonstration will involve the field deployment and testing of a capping stack as part of a larger scenario that will also test an operator's ability to obtain and schedule the deployment of the supporting systems necessary for successful containment, including debris removal equipment and oil collection devices. The capping stack will be lowered to the seabed by wire, a technique that offers the potential to be significantly faster than the deployment via pipe that occurred during the Deepwater Horizon response. BSEE will also analyze the results from tests conducted on the seafloor.

MWCC is one of two consortia that provide contract access to well containment equipment for oil and gas operators in the gulf. The other consortium, the Helix Well Containment Group (Houston), will complete a similar deployment exercise in the future.

BSEE hosted a forum on next-generation blowout preventer (BOP) development earlier in May to discuss future design, manufacturing, testing, maintenance and certification requirements, as well as technology needs identified from the government's Deepwater Horizon investigation. BSEE will address issues with BOPs in a proposed rule to be published in September, followed by public comment in the fall, officials said. In addition to calling for improvements in sensors and maintenance and training operations, BSEE said it wants a rule that requires BOPs to be able to cut through anything to seal a well.

Paon-1X Exploration Well Discovers Oil Off Africa
Tullow Oil plc (London, England) in June discovered oil in its first exploration well in the CI-103 license offshore Africa's Ivory Coast, Paon-1X. Based on its finds, Tullow said the discovery of good quality light oil is encouraging for future exploration work west of its Jubilee field in Ghana.

The dynamically positioned semisubmersible rig Eirik Raude drilled the Paon-1X well to a final depth of 5,090 meters in water up to 2,193 meters deep. Paon-1X has encountered 31 meters of net oil pay in a gross interval of 74 meters of turbidite sands. Pressure data indicates that this interval contains a continuous hydrocarbon column. Further analysis is required to determine reservoir quality and extent.

Following completion of logging operations, the well will be suspended for possible future use in appraisal and development operations. Tullow operates the CI-103 license and is partnered with Anadarko Petrol'eum Corp. (The Woodlands, Texas) and Petroci (Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire).

Swire Establishes Two Facilities in Brazil
Swire Oilfield Services (Aberdeen, Scotland) has opened two facilities in the Macaé region of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

A new sling manufacturing facility will produce an array of wire rope products, including lifting sets for cargo carrying units (CCUs), and is expected to produce up to 3,000 units per year. The second facility caters solely to Swire in Brazil.

The plant, owned by Mayfly/GWR (Chesterfield, England) and run in partnership with Swire, has a production capacity of 1,000 units per year.

Both facilities are certified to DNV 2.7-1 and are ISO accredited. The establishment of the new facilities is part of Swire's long-term growth plan to expand its presence across South America.

'Our products are used by the major international companies which already operate in Brazil and hold contracts with Swire Oilfield Services,' said Marcelo Nacif, general manager of Swire Oilfield Services in Brazil. 'Our goal is that these two new bases will perform not only support for our traditional logistics operations but also service the rapidly changing and growing Brazilian market.'

Expro Well Intervention System Undergoes Final Commissioning
The AX-S well intervention system, manufactured by Expro (Reading, England), successfully completed its final commissioning on a subsea well in Norway's Onarheimsfjorden fjord in April, Expro said in May.

The company is now preparing for the AX-S's first commercial well intervention job in the North Sea.

The AX-S, on board Havila Shipping ASA's (Fosnavaag, Norway) Havila Phoenix vessel, underwent commissioning without incident. All subsea packages were fully deployed twice in a complete stack-up, and 34 tools runs were performed on the well deploying downhole equipment including callipers, production logging, gamma ray, deep set plug, crown plugs and wireline tractor.


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