Safety agency inspects Hess’ Stampede topsides

Stampede topsides main deck lift; Image: Hess

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has inspected platform topsides for the Hess-operated Stampede deepwater oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The agency said that Hess Corp.’s Stampede tension leg platform moved one step closer to production Wednesday following completion of the Feb. 5-8 initial pre-production inspection of the topsides by the BSEE at the Kiewit shipyard in Ingleside, Texas.

Before operations can begin on any oil and gas production platform in the Gulf of Mexico, BSEE’s engineers and inspectors conduct a pre-production inspection of the topsides, which is the portion of the platform where numerous production processes take place and workers reside.

“BSEE conducts these inspections because our role is to ensure that energy produced on the Outer Continental Shelf is done safely, responsibly and with the fewest impacts to the environment,” explained Amy Wilson, acting district manager of BSEE’s Houma District.

“Our engineers and inspectors spend three to four days verifying that all safety equipment, design specifications and submitted drawings comply with federal regulations.”

Discovered in 2005, Stampede is located 115 miles south of Fourchon, La., in the Gulf of Mexico. The field has total estimated recoverable resources in excess of 300 million barrels of oil equivalent. The project was sanctioned in October 2014.

Production facilities will consist of subsea production and injection wells tied back to a single tension leg platform (TLP). Hess Corp.’s new TLP will operate in 3,500 feet of water with production anticipated to start in 2018.

Wilson said that companies typically have items that need to be corrected after the initial inspection, similar to any construction punch list, before they can begin production. The inspection process begins at the shipyard, but further inspections occur once the topsides are attached to the production facility structure and the facility is on location in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Stampede project platform and its expected six subsea wells will be operated by Hess in equal partnership with Union Oil Co. of California (Chevron), Statoil, and Nexen Petroleum Offshore USA, Inc. Once the final inspections are completed and the topsides are commissioned on location, Hess will start production which could be up to 80,000 barrels of oil per day.

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