Shell’s Appomattox platform inspected by U.S. offshore safety regulator

Appomattox hull arriving in the U.S.

Engineers and inspectors at the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) have signed off on several topsides components during a pre-production inspection of Shell’s Appomattox platform. 

Shell is a 79 percent owner while its partner Nexen Petroleum Offshore U.S.A., a subsidiary of CNOOC, holds the remaining 21 percent. The platform will be located 80 miles off Louisiana’s coast in the Mississippi Canyon.

The Appomatox hull arrived in the U.S. in October last year, marking a new phase of construction. As Shell finishes construction on its Appomattox platform hull, the U.S. offshore safety agency signed off on several topsides components during a pre-production inspection on March 27, 2018.

The BSEE said on Monday that the inspection involved ten inspectors divided into two groups, each simultaneously inspecting different areas of the facility for three consecutive days. Each group concentrated on various processes, components, and equipment.

Anthony Pizza, BSEE New Orleans district production operations section chief, said: “Appomattox will be Shell’s largest floating platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The purpose of our inspection is to ensure the topsides are constructed as planned, meet industry and BSEE standards and comply with federal regulations.”

According to Shell, the platform is slated for first oil by the end of this decade and will add about 175,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day to the nation’s supply.

“Our engineers and inspectors are working with Shell to ensure the Appomattox is prepared to operate in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner. With an estimated 650 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent in the field, the potential contribution to America’s energy needs is great,” added Pizza.

Before production can begin, BSEE engineers and inspectors will perform an additional inspection after the Appomattox is moved to its fixed location.

Once completed, the Appomattox platform will be installed at Shell’s Appomattox field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The final investment decision for the project was made back in July 2015.

The Appomattox project will consist of a semi-submersible, four-column production host platform, a subsea system featuring six drill centers, 15 producing wells, and five water injection wells.

The platform, which will be moored in approximately 7,200 feet of water, will be initially producing from the Appomattox and Vicksburg fields.

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