US firm gives subsea work on Gulf of Mexico oil development to ABL

ABL, part of the Oslo-listed energy consultancy ABL Group, has been hired by the U.S.-headquartered LLOG Exploration to provide marine warranty survey (MWS) services for a deepwater project in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

Salamanca FPS; Source: Audubon

Thanks to this contract, ABL will be in charge of technical document review and approval of all Salamanca development project-related critical procedures, drawings, documentation, and suitability inspections of the proposed fleet for subsea operations, which entail the installation of three infield subsea pipeline systems, along with the design and fabrication of subsea structures.

In addition, the firm will provide on-site attendance to review and approve transportation and mobilization operations of project assets. The pipelines will run from the well site to the Salamanca floating production facility. ABL’s scope of work for the project, slated to begin in 1Q 2024, will be managed and resourced by its office in Houston, with the support of the firm’s marine surveyor network around the Gulf of Mexico.

David Ballands, Director of Energy Services at ABL Americas, commented: “We are pleased to be supporting LLOG as MWS on the Salamanca subsea development. We will apply our extensive MWS experience from the Gulf of Mexico, together with our multidisciplinary marine and engineering expertise in Houston to ensure the subsea equipment is transported and installed safely and efficiently.”

ABL’s assignment on the Salamanca project, which envisages production from the Leon and Castille oil fields in water depths ranging from 1,800 to 2,000 meters, comes after Subsea7 won a deal last year for the installation of three infield subsea pipeline systems and the design and fabrication of subsea structures for the same project.

The Luxembourg-domiciled subsea player’s contract includes two pipeline systems for the Leon field, located in Keathley Canyon 686, and one pipeline system for the Castile field, located in Keathley Canyon 736. The deal covers the installation of oil and gas export pipelines, which depart from the Salamanca FPS and tie into existing pipeline transport systems about 48 kilometers away.

Located about 250 miles southwest of New Orleans in approximately 6,000 feet of water, the Leon discovery, drilled by Repsol in late 2014 on KC 642, was drilled to a total depth of about 32,000 feet and encountered nearly 700 feet of high-quality net oil pay in multiple sands in the Lower Tertiary. On the other hand, the Castile discovery was drilled on KC 736 in over 6,500 feet of water to a total of over 31,000 feet and encountered nearly 400 feet of high-quality net oil pay, also in the Lower Tertiary.

LLOG decided to reuse what was previously the world’s deepest floating production platform to develop its Leon and Castile discoveries in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and bought the old Independence Hub platform from Genesis Energy with plans to refurbish it and turn it into a floating production unit (FPU) named Salamanca.

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LLOG has handed out several deals to bring this project to life, including the one given to Trendsetter Engineering in March 2023. As a result, the Texas-based player will design and manufacture the subsea production manifold featuring its TCS subsea connectors, along with valves sourced from Advanced Technology Valve (ATV) in Colico, Italy.

LLOG also tapped Audubon for FPS engineering services in the Keathley Canyon, Gulf of Mexico, including project management, front-end engineering, detailed design, procurement, automation, and construction support for the Salamanca FPS.

While the column-stabilized platform will reuse the topside truss, cranes, lifeboats, and hull with minor modifications, topside processing equipment, utility systems, quarters and buildings, safety equipment, piping, instrumentation, and electrical systems will be new.

Following refurbishment from a previously decommissioned production facility, the platform will have a capacity of 60,000 barrels of oil per day and 40 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. The Salamanca FPU is expected to be completed in 2Q 2024 and the first oil from the project is anticipated in mid-2025.