The Morpeth oil field is located off the shore of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. Located in the Ewing Bank, there is a depth of 1,700 feet of water. The field has estimated oil reserves of 66 billion barrels and natural gas of about 67 billion cubic feet. Development included a tension leg platform (TLP) with a cost of about $100 million. It was first discovered in 1989 and production began in 1998. The area was developed originally by British Borneo.
The Discovery pipeline, owned by Texaco, was used for transport of oil and gas from the site. Deepwater drilling rig Ocean Endeavor was utilized to drill several production wells at the site. The deck is a stable working platform that sits above hurricane waves and is a buoyant one-piece design. The deck is 110 feet by 110 feet in size and has two levels of operation. Because of its small size, the deck can be easily built onshore and transported to its destination easily. It can support up to four satellite subsea wells that are up to 3,000 feet away.
TLP technology is a different type of installation than traditional floating platform construction. Previously this type of design was used in shallow water but now is available for use in deep water installations. The Seastar is a small TLP platform that is ideal for smaller sized applications. It offers a more economical solution for areas that need only a small footprint. The size makes it easy to place close by to other rigs. It may be used to support future facilities.
The system uses a cylindrical unit that is attached to a frame that is located below the surface. The frame is anchored to the seabed using large pillars that are several hundred feet in length. The system was first designed for use with larger rigs but is now adapted for use on small or mini platforms. These platforms are easier to install because they are smaller and they are much more cost efficient. They can easily be used as satellites around nearby host rigs.
The platform was originally owned by British Borneo, but their interest was later sold to Agip. Agip has been involved in a number of accidents. Last year an explosion occurred on their pipeline in Bayelsa State. The accident happened when workers were trying to secure a section of severed pipeline. They had been using a clamp to make the repair when the explosion occurred. Three workers were killed, and seven were injured as a result of the accident. The workers were from a firm contracted to work on the pipeline which is owned by Agip.
Accidents that occur in the United States must be reported to the U.S. Coastguard and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). BSEE investigates accidents to determine a cause and makes a report. The Jones Act is legislation that protects U.S. maritime workers. It allows workers who were injured due to the negligence of their employers to take legal action against them to recover damages.
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