Shell Oil Company's goal to be an industry leader in HS and E has placed even greater emphasis on the design of its production facilities so they will meet or exceed not only all regulatory requirements, but Shell's very demanding internal design standards as well. In addition to the many traditional equipment and process design requirements, there is also a need to incorporate Human Factors Engineering (HFE) into the design process. How the equipment will be operated and the potential for incorrect operation are very important safety design considerations as evidenced by recent industry disasters. Finally, the designs must not only achieve compliance with safety and environmental requirements, they must also consider how that compliance will be monitored and verified.

This paper addresses the approach utilized and some of the design considerations currently being made to provide for a safe and environmentally sound provide for a safe and environmentally sound operation of Shell Oil Company's deepwater Tension Leg Platform (TLP). It also identifies some of the HFE efforts being applied in the TLP design and describes the HS and E monitoring techniques used to verify and document compliance.


In 1993 Shell Oil Company will complete the installation of its first Tension Leg Platform (TLP) in the Gulf of Mexico. The TLP will be installed in approximately 2860 feet (872 m) of water in Garden Banks Block 426 (Prospect Auger) located 214 miles (344 km) southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana. The design of the topsides for the Auger TLP presented numerous challenges to the design team.

The integrated design embodies a conventional TLP with full drilling and production capability and marine systems required for the operation of the TLP over its design life. The design will also include:

  • a permanent lateral mooring system used for positional control over a dispersed seafloor wellhead pattern;

  • a floating drilling method based on a subsea blowout preventer (BOP) and low pressure drilling risers;

  • surface production trees with top-tension edrisers;

  • a single drilling rig fixed at the center of the platform;

  • equipment to handle the BOP and risers, and to move the production risers to and from their assigned well slot after the wells are completed;

  • steel catenary pipeline risers.

Unlike typical Shell Gulf of Mexico operations, the Auger TLP will be designed to support simultaneous drilling and production operations with full treating facilities on the TLP. This is a major deviation from the past Shell operating philosophy relative to concurrent operations.


During the late 1960's and early 1970's, Shell developed standard layouts, flowsheets and equipment specifications for typical Gulf of Mexico facilities.

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