This past weekend, Shell’s Olympus tension leg platform (TLP) left Kiewit shipyard in Ingleside, Texas, and is now making its way to its future home in the Gulf of Mexico, 209 kilometres (130 miles) south of New Orleans.
The Olympus TLP will be installed at the Mars Field in approximately 914 meters (3,000 feet) of water depth in the Gulf of Mexico. The rig is designed to produce upwards of 100,000 bbls per day and is jointly owned by Shell (71.5%) and BP (28.5%)
The Mars field is one of the largest proven hydrocarbon reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and Shell estimates that it will produce to at least 2050.
In 2010, the Olympus TLP hull was transported from South Korea to Kiewit Shipyard in Ingleside, Texas where the 5,000 ton topsides was constructed and installed on top of the semisubmersible hull.
What is a Tensioned Leg Platform?
A tensioned leg platform is an offshore production facility that features high strength, low elasticity tendons that anchor the rig to the sea floor in such a way that virtually all vertical heave motions are eliminated. The anchor points are located directly beneath the rig and the tendons are attached while the vessel is ballasted down. Upon deballasting, the rig floats higher and the tendons are then tensioned to a specific load and the rig is able to maintain a consistent draft.
TLPs feature a “dry tree” configuration, where the well heads are located on the production platform, vice on the seafloor (aka wet tree).
Images via Shell’s Facebook page