A-Hoover Spar

The Hoover spar is in the Hoover-Diana development and has been engaged in oil and gas production 200 miles south of Houston, Texas, since 2000. It is the deepest platform for both drilling and production. The structure is about 160 miles to the east of Corpus Christi. ExxonMobil has a 66.77 percent interest in the field, while BP Amoco holds the remaining interest. The facility, located in 4,800 feet of water, has a deep-draft caisson vessel that is 83 stories tall. Floating vertically, the caisson vessel is about a half a football field in diameter.

While the facility looks like a conventional spar, it is capable of oil storage. It also processes gas and oil from the Diana Field and Hoover Field, which lie 15 miles apart and are thought to have 300 million barrels of oil equivalent of recoverable resources. The hull is 122 feet in diameter and 705 feet long. Air-filled compartments in the upper section and seawater and fixed ballast below offer stability and support drilling operations. Surface production tees can be used with the spar.

The topside structure has three levels – consisting of utility, production, and drilling decks. There are systems for power generation, separation, dehydration, and compression. Each deck is about an acre in size. The two bottom decks were assembled at a Houston yard, but a 1,900-ton upper module production deck was lowered onto the rest of the structure at sea. This 8-hour operation involved 11 cranes. Joining the modules to the hull, however, required two lifts at 8,000 tons each. The structure is anchored via 12 spiral strand wire ropes, connected to piles on the sea floor. The pilings are 105 feet long and 21 feet in diameter.

Hoover Spar Activities and Incidents

In July 2012, a deepwater containment drill involved testing equipment intended for deployment during an oil spill. Crews deployed a capping stack to the sea floor, at 7,000 feet deep. In addition to facilitating an effective response, the exercise was conducted to boost safety as well. A capping stack is designed to shut off oil flow if a blowout preventer like the one on the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon fails.

Three workers were injured during a lifeboat deployment drill in May 2004. An equipment failure caused the lifeboat to tilt, possibly because of a slipped cable. Two people were treated for minor injuries, and one was admitted to the hospital.

Industry Accident Statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the fatality rate for workers in the oil and gas extraction industry is seven times higher than for all other employees in the U.S. From 2003 to 2010; it was 27.1 per 100,000 workers. Out of 128 fatalities, more than half involved transportation incidents, especially aircraft, and during material moving operations. Contact with objects/equipment, fires/explosions, and exposure to harmful compounds were also causes of death.

If you have been injured, or a loved one killed, in an accident aboard the A-Hoover Spar, fill out and submit our online form to receive more information.

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