The Tahiti operates in the Gulf of Mexico, about 190 miles off the New Orleans shore. It is located in Green Canyon blocks 596, 597, 640 and 641. The field is in deep water at a depth of about 4,200 feet. It is operated and operated by Chevron, who has a 58% interest in it. Statoil has 25% ownership and Total 17% ownership. The first phase was developed at the cost of more than $2 billion. It began production in 2009 and has an estimated daily production of more than 120,000 barrels of oil.
Phase II of the project included the installation of a subsea production system with costs of about $83 million. The system includes controls, subsea trees, engineering and project management. A truss supports the floating production platform. It was the first spar that did not have drilling capability or wellheads at the surface. The Tahiti’s hull was fabricated in Finland and transported to the Gulf of Mexico for installation. Chevron contracted McDermott for installation of the pipelines and flowlines. There was a project delay due to a metallurgical problem which was resolved.
The Tahiti Spar is the first installation of wet trees. Up until now, the dry tree concept was the preferred method. The wet tree application is also called a subsea tree. It allows for more flexibility in the layout of the field, particularly with multiple individual wells and drill centers. Wet trees can be used in deeper waters due to the technology that is utilized. When the seafloor is uneven, the subsea installation can be used. Fewer risers are required in this type of installation. However, there could be reduced well output if the wells are located further away from the host facilities.
Oil rig installation and operations are among the most dangerous jobs in the world. Working with heavy equipment and large machinery is difficult and hazardous. A crane accident occurred at the site in 2016. A worker was injured when the crew was working to position a casing on the conveyor system in order to ready it for a trolley to transport it to the rig floor. A crew member was struck in the torso with the casing when the load shifted, and he was propelled over a railing. The injured worker was evacuated to a hospital on shore, and the operations were temporarily halted.
An investigation was subsequently made by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). They determined that there was a failure by the crew to recognize a hazard when the load was improperly suspended. The operating company later redesigned the conveyor belt system to make it safer to use. It was noted that the crew was not sufficiently trained and did not have an understanding of proper operational procedures that should have been used. Chevron is investigating the accident.
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