technip subsea flexible pipe

Technip Awarded Installation Work at ExxonMobil’s Hadrian Prospect, One of the Largest Finds in the GoM

Rob Almeida
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March 1, 2012

Technip announced today that they had been awarded a subsea installation contract by ExxonMobil for the Hadrian South natural gas project in the Gulf of Mexico in approximately 7,500 feet (2,300 meters) of water.  The awarded project consists of a 9-mile subsea tie-back of flowlines, jumpers, umbilicals, and flying leads to the planned Anadarko operated spar platform, Lucius.   The installation will be completed by Technip’s deepwater pipelay vessel, the Deep Blue.


maersk developer
ExxonMobil contracted the leading-edge Maersk Developer semi-submersible to drill the Hadrian-5 well. image courtesy Maersk

Background on the Hadrian Prospect, via Exxonmobil:

An ExxonMobil exploration effort more than a decade in the making yielded oil and natural-gas discoveries that together represents one of the largest finds in the Gulf of Mexico since the late 1990s. It also strengthened hope that the Gulf still has major potential to supply future U.S. energy needs.

The combined resources from two major oil fields and a gas field discovered 250 miles southwest of New Orleans total more than 700 million oil-equivalent barrels on ExxonMobil-interest leases.

Development of the ExxonMobil-operated Hadrian North oil field and Hadrian South gas field in about 7,000 feet of water will set a deepwater record for ExxonMobil. Initial production from the Lucius oil field and Hadrian South is expected in 2014.

The Lucius reservoirs, which extend into adjoining blocks operated by Anadarko Petroleum Corp., are planned to be developed under a unitization agreement between ExxonMobil, Anadarko, Plains Exploration & Production Company, Apache Deepwater LLC, Petrobras America Inc. and Eni Petroleum US LLC. Gas production from Hadrian South is planned to be transported by pipeline to the Lucius production facility under a separate production-handling agreement. Both agreements will help speed production startup and lower costs.

As development moves forward, the discovery of the Hadrian fields is primarily a story of how ExxonMobil geoscientists working at the leading edges of exploration technology were able to “see” what couldn’t be seen before.

The subsalt puzzle
The discoveries are in the Gulf’s ultra-deepwater subsalt play – an area extending west to east some 250 miles and located about 270 miles off the Texas and Louisiana shores in water 5,000 to 10,000 feet deep.

Below the seafloor, and extending across much of the play, are sections of salt up to 10,000 feet thick.

gulf of mexico subsalt play
While more than 50,000 wells have been drilled in the Gulf of Mexico, the amount of undrilled acreage in the subsalt trend is substantial. image courtesy ExxonMobil

Some 170 million years ago, this salt was initially deposited as a near-continuous layer.  Over millions of years, sediments deposited onto the salt forced it into a variety of shapes, some near-vertical and others more lateral. The natural forces
pinched off some areas, creating salt canopies that now overlie thick sedimentary sections.

Drilling in shallower waters in the 1980s and 1990s revealed the presence of potential hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs below these displaced salt features.

However, the imaging technology allowing geoscientists to plan exploration wells to determine the commercial potential of subsalt prospects was still in very early development.

Continuing Gulf focus
With the Hadrian-area discoveries moving into development, exploration activity will continue in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Our Gulf exploration team will continue looking at prospects along the subsalt trend,” says Adrian Foster, exploration
manager.  “We hold a substantial acreage position, and we intend to maintain a very active exploration program in the Gulf.”
From an energy-security standpoint, Foster notes that the Gulf also offers an attractive location to bring reliable and needed
energy supplies to U.S. markets.

“The Gulf will continue to deliver large discoveries, and we look forward to continued success there.”


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