This paper will describe a production system and associated operating scenarios which allow more cost effective methods of accessing and depleting deep water reservoirs in the Gulf of Mexico. The system is named the "Micro TLP" (Tension Leg Platform) and it has been developed by a multi discipline team. It is based on Conoco's operating experience over the last five years in the deep waters, particularly that gained from the Jolliet TLWP.

The Micro TLP is a very small tension leg platform. It achieves the required performance through load management techniques and past experience from a strong multi discipline design team. Its small size makes it is easier and quicker to fabricate. The Micro TLP is also easily installed, moved and reused in different water depths which facilitates staged or phased production. Staged development with several Micro TLPs instead of a single large TLP will lead to fewer more productive wells being used to deplete the reserves.

In the Gulf of Mexico, deep water may be generally broken into areas near and far from existing infra-structure. This paper will show how a properly designed and operated Micro TLP System may greatly reduce up front capital costs and cash exposure in near infrastructure deep water development scenarios. Further, it will discuss how a Micro TLP may be used in conjunction with a second generation semi-submersible to provide greatly improved economics for a far from infrastructure scenario.

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