The Red Hawk Project involved the use of the world's first production cell spar and has achieved first production within 24 months of project sanction. It represents development of a deepwater field requiring significant new technology to address both technical and commercial challenges, by a major independent E&P company in record time using a small in-house staff and an effective contractor organization. This paper will provide an overview of the project, describe the in-house and contract organizations, contracting strategy, project management style, regulatory approach, HS&E, and project execution results.


The Red Hawk field is a deepwater gas field located in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 210 miles southeast of Sabine Pass, Texas in Garden Banks 877. The field facilities are in both the GB877 and GB876 blocks, as depicted in Figure 1. The field development consists of a cell spar moored in approximately 5300 feet of water, and one or more subsea systems that are tied back to the spar. Kerr-McGee Oil and Gas Corporation (Kerr-McGee) is the operator and Devon Energy (Devon) is a 50% partner. The discovery well at Red Hawk was drilled in August 2001.

Field Description

Red Hawk is a biogenic gas field with very low condensate yield, driven by gas expansion and a moderate aquifer influence. Discovered in August 2001, it was delineated and defined through seven penetrations with wire line logs, sidewall cores, modular formation dynamic testing, flow tests, and fluid analyses. Current and future production comes from three upper Pliocene reservoirs, deposited in the down dip part of a salt-bounded mini-basin as slope fan and channel-levee facies. The two main reservoirs contain over 100 feet of high-quality sand; porosities range from 22 to 26 percent, with permeabilities between 200 and 300 millidarcies. The productive zones are approximately 11,000 to 13,000 feet below the sea floor, with up to 2,300 feet of relief between structural crest and gas-water contact. Reservoir pressure measurements in six of the wells demonstrate that the two main reservoirs are in continuous pressure communication throughout the field. In addition, seismic amplitudes conform with the structural contour of the gas-water contact, and establish lateral extent of the reservoirs.

Spar Selection

As Figure 2 shows, the cell spar is the third generation of spar technologies, with Kerr-McGee pioneering all three spar types with Technip Offshore Incorporated (TOI) and inventor Ed Horton [Ref. 1/2/3/4/5/6]. The first was the classic spar, shown on the far left of Figure 2 - basically a long cylinder where the upper part provides the buoyancy, and the permanent ballast in the bottom portion provides the stability.

The next was the truss spar, first used by the operator at its Nansen and Boomvang fields. The truss spar was similar to the classic spar, but the lower cylindrical section of the classic spar was replaced with a truss section instead, decreasing costs and maintaining performance. The cell spar is a collection of 7 cylindrical sections, 3 of which extend as legs to the keel, which holds the permanent ballast.

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