Shell's Oldest Gulf of Mexico Platform Gets New Life

June 20, 2014

After a two-year retrofit project, Shell's 33-year-old production platform in the Gulf of Mexico, Cognac, is back online.

Cognac the platform connected to the first well discovered in deep-water Gulf of Mexico by Shell more than 33 years ago has been given a new lease of life after an extensive asset integrity project.

The fixed steel platform, installed in July 1977, is legendary in the industry. At the time of its installation, Cognac was the world's deepest water platform and the world's tallest and heaviest steel offshore structure taller than the Empire State Building.

Two years ago, the platform was shut down to address asset integrity and operational issues. The extensive rebuild project included structural repair, inspection, and repair of vessels and piping, as well as repairs to 40 wellheads.

On board Cognac, a key producing platform in Shells Gulf of Mexico future growth priorities.

When you do an extended maintenance project like this, there is something to analyse and correct on a daily basis. The team kept safety in mind throughout the project, which was completed without significant incident, says David Billings, Cognac operations manager.

Billings credits a team effort between Shells Operations group, the commissioning and start-up (CSU) team and partners in safety Bay, which handled construction; MMR Group, which provided electrical and instrument work; and Waveland Services, the painting contractor.

Shells producing assets in the Gulf of Mexico, including fixed structure facilities and platforms like Cognac and floating platforms, for instance Mars and Auger.

Shells CSU team, led by Troy Lambert, completed all commissioning activities, testing and calibrating more than 800 devices, to help bring the platform online with zero leaks or shutdowns due to control malfunctions.

Typically, youll have multiple start-ups due to equipment or control issues that need to be addressed, says Lambert. This standard approach to check each component reduces the likelihood for a process safety event during restart.

The CSU team is part of the Operations Readiness group formed in July 2013 to review and conduct asset integrity projects across Shell.

The team is currently involved in projects on every asset in the Gulf of Mexico, from assisting with start-up of Shells Cardamom project to smaller-scale efforts to add pumps or upgrade control systems. Cognac is the teams first full-scale restart of a facility.

Shell in the Gulf of Mexico

Shell has been an offshore pioneer in the Gulf of Mexico forover six decades.

Cognac is one of 12 fixed structure platforms producing oil andgas. Shell also operates six major deep-water and ultra deep-water floating platforms, and has a contracted drilling rig fleet larger than any otheroperator in the Gulf of Mexico.

Deepwater joins Integrated Gas as Shells two pipelines that will generate the majority of new growth over the next decade.

Back to News Listings