The first Tension Leg Platform (TLP) was installed in 1984 to develop the Hutton field in the Central North Sea in about 500 ft. of water. It successfully demonstrated the ability of a floating platform tethered to the seabed to drill and produce with surface trees. In the ensuing years, twenty three additional TLPs have been installed and three more sanctioned, in most major deepwater producing regions around the world, in water depths down to 5,200 ft. The TLP today is a mature and proven deepwater production platform and is routinely included as a platform concept building block for many deepwater prospects during field development planning for dry or wet tree scenarios. This paper presents a retrospective of TLP development that includes:

  • An overview and description of TLP hull configurations

  • Basic hull and tendon design considerations

  • A chronology of TLP designs, applications and contracting strategies

  • The evolution of TLP tendon and foundation systems

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