TLP Marco Polo
Located 160 miles to the south of New Orleans, Louisiana, the Marco Polo field in Green Canyon block 608 sits over 4,300 feet of water. The Tension Leg Platform (TLP) is the world’s deepest. It is owned by a joint venture between GulfTerra Energy Partners and Cal Dive International and operated by Anadarko. Producing oil since March 2004, the platform has a 5,750-ton hull and payload of 14,000 tons and an oil processing capacity of 120,000 barrels of oil per day. About 300 million cubic feet of gas can be produced daily.
Six production risers (dual casing) are linked to the platform. It also has two catenary risers for oil export and I-tubes (6) that contain umbilical structures. There are eight 28-inch diameter tendons anchoring the Marco to the seafloor, which are secured to the sea floor with 390 foot by 76-inch diameter piles. Oil is transported from the platform through 34 miles of pipeline to the Ship Shoal 332 platform, where the Poseidon oil pipeline system can be accessed.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s Accident Investigation Report issued in July 2016 detailed the specifics of a fire ignited while two employees were reconfiguring and depressurizing gas compressor cylinders. The fire was caused by natural gas in the area; a turbocharger (for an engine serving the compressor) is thought to have been the ignition source. Two workers sustained 1st, and 2nd degree burns to their face, neck, and hands, and transported by helicopter to a burn unit in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The report noted contributing factors such as personnel not performing a Permit to Work or Job Safety Analysis. These would have provided enough time for equipment to cool down. Doing so is company policy, which the workers did not follow.
In 2016, the BSEE reported 86 fires and explosions involving offshore facilities, compared to a high of 148 in 2009 during its latest reporting period. Last year, there were 151 injuries aboard oil platforms and two fatalities.
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