The transfer of the operatorship of the Typhoon and Boris fields (renamed Phoenix field) to Helix; triggered several groundbreaking execution plans that included the use of the first dynamically positioned ship shape floating production system in the Gulf of Mexico, the Helix Producer I (HP1), with a Disconnectable Transfer System (DTS) allowing it to operate at multiple fields and seek shelter in the event of severe weather condition. Wells from the Typhoon, Boris and Little Burn fields will be tied back through rigid and flexible lines to this facility. A Train Ferry at early stages of being converted at a ship yard in Croatia to offshore construction support vessel was selected as the hull of choice for this application.
Achieving the ambitious budget and schedule goals established for vessel conversion, topside & DTS fabrication and Integration & commissioning of the whole system; required commitment to success. A small, dedicated project team was set up and duly authorized to act on all matters relating to project execution. All resources below the level of Project Engineer were non-dedicated and sourced externally through sub-contracts to multiple companies.
This paper presents the unique challenges faced during the project execution, lessons learned and steps undertaken and challenges overcome to achieve successful conclusion as Lloyd classed and USCG approved vessel in Gulf of Mexico (GOM).
In the GOM, there are a growing number of deepwater and ultra-deepwater discoveries facing challenges related to remoteness of location relative to existing pipeline infrastructure, significance of appraisal drilling cost/time, lacking of data from specific reservoir sands and very high stand-alone development costs. These challenges present great opportunities for the utilization of DP FPSO's and consequently shaped one of Helix's major business missions i.e. providing a leased-based, re-deployable DP FPSO and shuttle tanker/barge development solution for deepwater fields as an Early Production System (EPS), Extended Well Testing System (EWTS), and/or Marginal Field Production System (MFPS) in the Gulf of Mexico and / or other regions. Toward that goal, a number of engineering and economic sensitivity studies were performed to evaluate the use of different types of deepwater facilities types for the production of number of prospects in GOM. These studies resulted in the shaping of conceptual ideas and the development of an inhouse experience with operational limits and flexibilities associated with each facility type. DP FPSO with Disconnectable Transfer System (DTS) was identified as the solution with maximum potential of deployment with the majority of these prospects.
In August 21st, 2006 Helix Energy Resources Technology (ERT) acquired 100% working interest in Typhoon mini basin (i.e. Typhoon, Boris, and Little Burn) and renamed it " Phoenix??. This action and the results of economical evaluation based on different development scenarios provided the basis for the immediate implementation of plans that Helix had been working on for long time regarding the use of DP vessel for the production of this size of field.