Energy Business

Chevron Gulf of Mexico Platform Delayed by Sinking Connectors

Paul Ausick

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) announced late Monday that it has moved its Big Foot tension-leg platform into a sheltered location following the collapse of six of the platform’s 16 subsea connectors (called tendons) that would have connected the platform to the sea floor. The platform was being installed about 225 miles south of New Orleans in approximately 5,200 feet of water.

The tendons are steel tubes that attach the platform to the seabed and, until they are connected, are held in place by buoys. Chevron said only that the tendons lost buoyancy and that the platform was not connected to any subsea wells or legs at the time. There were no injuries and no oil was released into the Gulf.

Big Foot was scheduled to go online later this year, but the project has now been delayed indefinitely, according to a report in the Financial Times. When fully operational, the platform is expected to produce about 75,000 barrels of oil and 25 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

The Big Foot project was green-lighted in 2010 and the company said it expected the project to cost $4 billion. The project was a year behind the original schedule before the weekend’s problems occurred. Potentially recoverable oil-equivalent resources for the field have been estimated to exceed 200 million barrels.

Chevron produced a total of 2.57 million oil-equivalent barrels in 2014 and is counting on the Big Foot project to help it reach its production goal of 3.1 million barrels a day in 2017.

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