The first Spar platform in the Gulf of Mexico was installed in September of 1996. It's cylinder measured
770 feet long, and was 70 feet in diameter, and the platform operated in 1,930 feet of water.
Shell considered several production and export systems alternatives, but in the end decided on the spar
concept for a number of reasons, including:
the desire to have a high well count with full drilling, completion and sidetracking capability from a low-cost
platform drilling rig and
the existence of a significant pipeline transportation network in the area with available capacity.
The deep draft nature of a spar design makes it inherently more stable than other designs. It is also simpler
to maintain stability during producing operations, with little or no active ballast control required.
The first spar platform in the GOM was installed in September of 1996, with a cylinder measuring 705 feet
long and 72 feet in diameter. The platform operated in 1,930 feet of water.
The current water depth record for a Spar host is 5,610 feet for Dominion's Devil's Tower spar, located on
Mississippi Canyon Block 773. Perdido’s hull is 550 ft long and 118 feet in diameter and will be located in a
water depth slightly greater then 7,800 feet.
tallest building on Texas A&M campus, O&M building : 15 stories about 170 ft tall.
Oryx installed the world’s first production spar platform in the
Gulf of Mexico, Vioska Knoll Block 826 in September 1996.
The water depth is 1930 ft.
-spars are cheaper to install at depth than other options.
Spar platform: Finally, if you absolutely need to drill a hole at a depth of 10,000 feet (3,048 meters), then the spar
platform is the oil rig for you. With this design, the drilling platform sits atop a giant, hollow cylindrical hull. The other
end of the cylinder descends around 700 feet (213 meters) into the ocean depths. While the cylinder stops far above
the ocean floor, its weight stabilizes the platform. A network of taunt cables and lines trail out from the cylinder to
secure it to the ocean floor in what is called a lateral catenary system. The drill string descends down through the
length of the cylinder's interior and down to the ocean floor.
Company Platform Type
Kerr-McGee Neptune Classic 1996
ChevronTexaco Genesis Classic 1998
ExxonMobil Hoover Diana Classic 2000
Kerr-McGee Nansen Truss 2001
Murphy Medusa Truss 2002
Kerr-McGee Boomvang Truss 2002
bp Horn Mountain Truss 2002
bp Holstein Truss 2003
Kerr-McGee Gunnison Truss 2004
bp Mad Dog Truss 2005
The Red Hawk field is located in Garden Banks block 877 in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. It
has been developed using the world's first cell spar facility. The field is operated by Kerr-McGee
with a 50% interest, on behalf of Devon Energy (50%). It is located in 5,300ft of water.
Production from the first of its two subsea wells was realised only 24 months after sanctioning. It
has been estimated that the field has a resource base of approximately 250 billion ft³ of natural
gas. With both wells on stream, Kerr McGee estimate that production will peak at 120 million
ft³/day, however the design also allows the facility to be expanded to accommodate a production
capacity of up to 300MMcf/d.
CELL SPAR FLOATING PRODUCTION FACILITY
The cell spar, a floating production facility, is the third generation of the spar systems, all of
which were pioneered by Kerr-McGee. This innovative technology reduces the reserve threshold
for economical development of deepwater fields.
The Spar, named the Kerr-McGee Global Producer IX, measures 560ft in length, (50ft above
water level) and consists of a topsides on a tripartite hull.
The topsides consists of three decks: the main (top) deck and the production (middle) deck, both
measuring 112ft x 133ft, and the spar deck which measures 75ft x 91ft. The hull weighs 7,200t
and is enough to accommodate an initial 3,600t of topsides payload.
The upper hull system is based around a hard tank. This consists of six tubes surrounding a
seventh, each 20ft in diameter and connected together by structural steel. It is the cylindrical
tubes that provide the spar its necessary buoyancy. They contain variable-ballast tanks and
redundant, independent cells. Externally, they are surrounded by helical strakes, which suppress
The middle hull section is an extension of three of the seven cylindrical tubes, and serves as a
rigid connection between the hard tank and the keel tank. The structure contains horizontal heave
plates dampen the heave response.
The lower section, or keel, contains the permanent ballast (magnetite). This is installed at the
The hull structure was engineered and built in the United States in several sections at Technip's
Gulf Marine Fabricators in Ingleside. Technip's scope of work for the project also included EPCI
delivery of the topsides, also fabricated at Gulf Marine Fabricators, offshore installation of hull,
moorings and topsides, as well as offshore flowlines and umbilical installation, export SCR
installation and commissioning. The flowlines were fabricated at the Technip Spoolbase in
Mobile, Alabama, and the umbilical at Technip's Duco facility in Channelview, Texas. Offshore
installation work was carried out by Technip's state of the art installation vessel, the Deep Blue.
Heerema Marine Contractors, JP Kenny and GulfTerra Energy Partners were among the other
major project contractors.
ANCHORS AND MOORING
The spar is secured by a taut catenary system linked to six equally spaced anchors. The mooring
lines consist of suction embedded anchor, anchor chain, polyester rope, platform chain,
underwater fairlead, chain stopper and shared windlass. Each suction anchor is 18ft in diameter
and 78ft long.
The gas is exported via a 16in steel steel catenary riser. There is also a 10in steel catenary riser
available for oil export.
The Red Hawk field has been developed using the world's first cell spar facility.
The largest heavy-lift device in the Gulf of Mexico hoists the 7,200-ton Red Hawk cell spar from barge
With both wells on stream, Kerr McGee estimate that production will peak at 120 million ft³/day.
The Red Hawk cell spar's hull is formed by seven hollow tubes, each 20ft in diameter, used to provide
both stability and buoyancy.
The hull weighs 7,200t and is enough to accommodate an initial 3,600t of topsides payload.
The topsides consists of three decks: the main (top) deck, the production (middle) deck, and the spar
Offshore: ABS to Class Cell Spar for Kerr-McGee
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
ABS is classing the industry's first cell spar destined for Kerr-McGee's Red Hawk field in
deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The project marks ABS' fifth classification contract from Kerr-
McGee Oil & Gas for a spar offshore facility. The project will draw on ABS' experience with
spar technology and industry expertise for deepwater developments, says Luiz Feijo, ABS
quot;ABS offers Kerr-McGee the expertise to face the technical challenges of the Red Hawk frontier
project while meeting the schedule requirements,quot; said Feijo.
The entire project, adds Feijo, is expected to complete within two years of project sanction, with
first-gas scheduled for second quarter 2004.
quot;Engineering and fabrication are proceeding in parallel. For ABS, this means we are working
very diligently to review and approve designs in an efficient manner, without risk of delay,quot; said
He adds that ABS' experience in working with Kerr-McGee and its deepwater pursuits will help
facilitate its participation in the effort. To date, ABS has supported Kerr-McGee with
classification services for the caisson or classic first-generation spar and for the truss spar, a
second-generation design using less steel while allowing additional deck load. ABS has classed
the following Kerr-McGee spars, all installed in the Gulf of Mexico: the Neptune spar-a classic
design; and the Nansen, Boomvang and Gunnison truss spars.
quot;Each new generation design has improved the spar concept for deepwater development,quot; said
The cell spar — a third-generation design — -provides the industry with continued opportunities
to lower fabrication costs, again reducing the complexity of steel fabrication by simplifying the
design concept, thus increasing operator flexibility in selecting where the hull can be built. The
first and second generation designs, explains Feijo, required specialized shipyard fabrication, and
all have been constructed in European and Far East yards and have required transport to Gulf of
The Red Hawk cell spar is planned for Garden Banks Block 877 in 5,300 feet of water,
representing continued deepwater advancement for spar technology, says Don Vardeman, Kerr-
McGee's director of worldwide deepwater facilities. Kerr-McGee is the operator for Red Hawk
with a 50 percent interest. Ocean Energy, Inc. holds the remaining 50 percent.
quot;We installed the Neptune classic spar in 1,900 feet of water in 1996. We followed in 2001 with
installation of the Nansen and Boomvang truss spars in 3,450 feet of water. The Gunnison truss
spar is planned for installation in third quarter 2003 in 3,150 feet of water. The cell spar
innovations are expected to push floating technology into deeper waters,quot; said Vardeman.
The cell spar's new hull concept features six outer cylinders or cells surrounding an inner cell, all
connected by framing decks at regular intervals, rather than a single large caisson unit; a
polyester mooring system, which is more buoyant than traditional chain-wire systems; and a
topside-operated compressed air ballast system.
quot;ABS has given its 'approval in principle' of the hull design and is providing advice on
engineering and inspection issues,quot; said Feijo.
The cell spar hull will have a diameter of 64 feet, with each of the seven cylinders or tubes two
feet apart and measuring 20 feet in diameter. The hull length is 560 feet and includes four heave
plates to facilitate stability. Strakes or spiral vanes all along the tubes help to reduce vortex-
ABS also is providing insight into development of the mooring system design, says Feijo,
explaining that ABS issued its Guidance Notes on Synthetic Moorings in 1999. Kerr-McGee's
Red Hawk is one of the first Gulf of Mexico installations to utilize the technology.
The industry has traditionally used wire and rope chain for its mooring systems, advises Feijo.
The polyester material, however, offers the industry several advantages, such as reduced
mooring system weight and improved payload options. quot;The use of light-weight synthetic rope
allows a floating production facility to support more revenue-producing equipment. The
availability of synthetic materials and innovative mooring systems, such as the one being
developed for Red Hawk, is extending the economic capability of existing floating technology
into deeper waters,quot; said Feijo.
ABS will class the Red Hawk spar as an XA1 Floating Offshore Installation (FOI) and the
platform will maintain a U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection (COI), which ABS will
facilitate on behalf of the USCG. The production facilities are not included in the classification.
The cathodic protection system, which was designed for 20 years, consists of approximately 660,000 pounds
of sacrificial aluminum-zinc-indium alloy anodes. (Neptune SPAR)
Dallas -- A sign of better times for Oryx Energy Co. will soon rise more than 125 feet above the
waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
It's an oil platform that's 30 percent cheaper to build and sits atop a floating tower, most of it
submerged in almost 2,000 feet of water.
Cloud Computing Also Hit by IT-Spending Cutbacks
Short Term Energy Monitoring: A Road To Long Term Energy Savings?
NCS-Omnicare: The New Landscape For M&A
Ohio's Health House Provides Asthma-Free Indoor Living
Agistix's On-Demand Solution Gives Maxim Centralized Logistics Control
Oryx is betting the $300 million it spent for the platform, known as a spar, is one step in
repairing the damage done by a $1 billion loss in 1994 resulting from write downs on the value
of its oil and gas properties. It won't be easy, considering that Oryx's balance sheet is loaded with
$1.2 billion in long-term debt and liabilities that exceed assets by more than $100 million. But
say this for Oryx Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Keiser - - his goal is clear and simple:
quot;to have debt, reserves and a cash- flow structure that gets us back to an investment-grade credit
rating.quot; Dallas-based Oryx, which drills for and sells oil and natural gas, already has made plenty
of progress under Keiser, a 30-year Oryx veteran who replaced Robert Hauptfuhrer in December
1994. Keiser has slashed costs and debt, cut the workforce and refocused on cheaper and more
profitable drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico rather than in foreign fields. Last year, the
company returned to profitability, with net income of $135 million and since early 1995, its
stock is up almost 80 percent to about 18. Keiser has said he expects 1996 profit from operations
to nearly triple from last year, with a 20 percent jump in cash flow. Now, Oryx is taking a
gamble, looking to be the first company to produce oil with a spar platform, known as the
Neptune project. The spar is a metal tube that floats upright and is moored to the sea floor. Decks
will be placed on top of the cylinder, which is 72 feet in diameter, to hold production equipment.
Pipes will run through the 705-foot-long cylinder to wells on the sea floor. Conventional
platforms sit atop four permanent legs that rest on pilings driven into the sea bed. Unlike
conventional platforms, a spar can be moved and used to produce from other wells. Oryx
estimates that using the spar saved at least $90 million for the company and its 50-50 partner on
Neptune, Pittsburgh-based Consolidated Natural Gas Co. In fact, Oryx probably would have
passed on developing Neptune's 50 million to 75 million barrels of oil reserves, worth up to $1.9
billion at current prices, if cheaper technology wasn't available, Keiser said. The quot;spar was the
piece of technology that we found was cost effective,quot; said Don Vardeman, Oryx's Neptune
project manager. The spar portion of the project recently was put in place 90 miles south of the
Alabama coast. Once the three-level deck is added, it is expected to start producing oil and gas,
probably in January. Peak production of 25,000 barrels of oil and 30 million cubic feet of natural
gas a day is forecast for 1999. Oryx used other methods to cut the cost of developing Neptune.
Engineers used the Internet to consult daily with companies in other countries that were part of
the spar construction team. Engineering diagrams were sent electronically, reducing review time
from weeks to hours, Vardeman said. Oryx kept its engineering staff lean, and a small technical
staff oversaw development of the spar, Vardeman said. quot;Normally, on a facility design of this
size, the owner would have a staff of 12 to 14 engineers looking over the shoulder of the
engineering company,quot; Vardeman said. quot;We had one part-time engineer, and we would get
experts to come in when we needed additional input.quot; Neptune also reflects Oryx's decision to
concentrate exploration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, where it's developing five projects. Oryx
has sold many of the U.K. North Sea properties it bought for $1.1 billion in 1991, saying costs
were too high. quot;They can look out two or three years and see they've got major development
projects on tap,quot; said Kenneth Beer, a Johnson Rice & Co. analyst. This year, and for the next
three to four years, the company expects to replace more than 100 percent of its oil and gas
reserves. Last year, it replaced only 67 percent as sold properties and cut its debt. Reserves are
oil or gas in the ground, and companies replace reserves by drilling or buying producing tracts.
quot;The exploration efforts you'll see in the back half of this year are an important next step for the
company,quot; Beer said. Oryx does have potentially large international projects in its pocket, and
has structured some of them so that partners bear the up- front costs in exchange for part of
Oryx's future production share. quot;It's a good strategy for us,quot; Keiser said. quot;It allows us to get our
exploration done, basically without expending any capital.quot; Oryx's international projects are in
the North Sea, Ecuador, offshore Australia, Algeria and Kazakhstan. As recently as 1990, Oryx
was saddled with $3.2 billion in debt after borrowing $1 billion to buy oil and gas properties just
before prices plunged in the Persian Gulf War. Another $1 billion in debt stemmed from its 1990
purchase at more than $54 a share -- the stock's record high -- for the 27 percent Oryx stake
owned by the Pew family trust. The stock plunged soon after, falling to 12 by the time
Hauptfuhrer retired. While Oryx has made headway. It still hasn't shed its reputation among
some investors and analysts as a company that poorly timed big moves and was slow addressing
problems. quot;Maybe if they put up two or three more quarters of very good earnings numbers, the
Street will get that much more comfortable,quot; Beer said. quot;At some point, that credibility issue for
Oryx will go away and they will get out of the penalty box.quot;