Tubular Bells topside delivered to deepwater Gulf of Mexico
HOUSTON -- Crowley has provided ocean towing services for the Tubular Bells topside in the Gulf of Mexico for Saipem.
Crowley’s ocean class tug, Ocean Wind towed the production deck, while invader class tug Pilot, towing barge Marmack 303, preceded with delivery of the construction deck. In both cases, the vessels took delivery of their cargo at the sea buoy - Cat Island Pass for Ocean Wind and Eugene Island for Pilot - before transiting the mammoth structures to Mississippi Canyon Block 725, roughly 135 mi southeast of New Orleans, in the deep waters of the U.S. Gulf.
“The Ocean Wind was particularly suited for the Tubular Bells deck section tow out and lift due to its dynamic positioning (DP) capabilities, which are outstanding for station holding,” said Ocean Wind Captain Ward Davis. “The Ocean Wind was able to position and hold the barge alongside the SAIPEM 7000 semi-submersible crane and pipelaying vessel with light tension on the tow wire while they prepared for, and made the lift of the deck section.”
Crowley’s ocean class tugs are modern ocean towing twin-screw vessels with controllable pitch propellers (CPP) in nozzles, high-lift rudders and more than 147 MT bollard pull. The first two ocean class vessels, the Ocean Wave and Ocean Wind, are classed as Dynamic Positioning 1 (DP1) tugboats and are twin-screw, tugs with an overall length of 146 ft., beam of 46 ft., hull depth of 25 ft. and design draft of 21 ft. The second two tugs of the class, Ocean Sky and Ocean Sun, are classed as DP2 and are 10 ft longer. All four vessels are capable of rig moves, platform and FPSO unit tows, emergency response, salvage support and firefighting.
Tubular Bells is slated to begin production in 2014 and should peak in the range of 40,000 to 50,000 bopd with total estimated recoverable resources for Tubular Bells at more than 120 MMboe. Hess serves as the operator of the field and owns a 57.14% working interest. Chevron owns the remaining 42.86% interest.