Abstract

This paper covers the development of the Prince (formerly known as Sunday Silence) Field. The paper outlines how the lease operator and owners in conjunction with turnkey contractors succeeded in developing a relatively small oil field (in deepwater terms) in an environment of low oil prices. This work included the first application of the "MOSES" Tension Leg Platform. The "MOSES" TLP is the first of a new 4th generation in TLP designs that introduces a new hull configuration offering the industry improved platform motions, lower cost, and less fabrication time than other deepwater platform concepts. The successful completion of the development of the Prince Field proves that the industry can execute innovative deepwater development projects on a lump sum contract basis in record setting time frames without costly overruns.

Introduction

The Prince Field is an oil discovery with associated gas located in Ewing Bank Block 958, 959, and 1003, 80 miles offshore Louisiana in a water depth of 1490 ft. (Reference Figure 1) The three leases are unitized in the Ewing Bank Block 1003 Unit. The Prince Field was developed by means of four (4) predrilled wells that were completed and tied back via top tensioned risers to dry trees located on a MOSES TLP. Oil and associated gas are processed to pipeline specifications on the platform and exported via two (2) export steel catenary risers (SCR). The pipelines and SCR's were pre-laid in April 2001, and the TLP was installed in July 2001. The first riser was installed and the initial well was brought on-stream in September 2001.

The development of the Prince Field can be characterized by the following industry trendsetting activities:

  • The Prince Field was the first deepwater field that received royalty relief under the Deepwater Royalty Relief Outer Continental Royalty Relief Act.

  • A MOSES TLP was selected for the Prince Field development after four competitive bids had been reviewed. This marked the first time in the Gulf of Mexico that competitive bidding was used for a turnkey deepwater floating platform concept selection and the first time that the MOSES TLP was selected.

  • The SCR's designed for the Prince Field development are the world's shallowest SCRs suspended from a floating platform. Additional details are provided in the paper listed in the reference section 1.

  • The Prince Field development marks the first time that the working interest owner in the leases (El Paso Production GOM, Inc.) decided to contract with a pipeline and platform infrastructure company (El Paso Energy Partners, L.P.) to have El Paso Energy Partners own and operate the deepwater platform and process production from the field for a fee. This arrangement lowered the development costs and made it possible for El Paso Production GOM, Inc. to develop the field with a deepwater platform in lieu of a subsea tie-back.

  • The TLP hull is the first use of a new 4th generation TLP design that offers the industry a new alternative with dry tree or wet tree capability.

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