Exploration and Discovery
- The Auger Prospect encompasses 4 OCS leases in the Garden Banks Area - Blocks 426,
427, 470 and 471 - located about 255 miles southeast of Houston and 214 miles southwest
of New Orleans.
These leases were acquired for $11,263,000 in OCS Lease Sale 84, held in July 1984 and
Lease Sale 102, held in August 1985.
The leases are 100% owned by Shell Deepwater Production Inc.
- The discovery well was drilled on Block 426 in 1987 using the Zane Barnes.
One other well and three sidetracks were drilled on the four blocks and 3D seismic
information was used prior to making a decision on development.
- Based on Shell’s current assessment, total gross ultimate recovery, is estimated at about
300 million barrels of oil equivalent, with a two to one oil/gas ratio. API gravity is 38
degrees, and sulfur is less than 1%.
- Shell made public its decision to develop Auger in December 1989 with the announcement
of plans to install a tension leg platform on Block 426.
- This TLP was installed in a water depth of 2,860 feet, a record for a permanent drilling and
production platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
- First production was achieved on April 15, 1994.
- The TLP was the first in the Gulf of Mexico to support both a drilling rig and complete
- The total project cost was approximately $1.1 billion.
About 65% of the project costs was spent for fabrication and installation of the hull, deck,
facilities, drilling rig and pipelines.
The other 35% of the project costs were spent for drilling and completion of the wells.
About 80% of the project costs were domestic.
- Ultimately, a total of 14 to 17 production wells is expected.
Ten wells were drilled and cased to reservoir depth by the semisubmersible rig George
Richardson from May 1990 through October 1992.
The remaining wells were drilled after the TLP was installed.
Transocean provided manpower to drill and complete the wells through
2000. Beginning in 2001, H&P provided the manpower to operate
the Shell owned rig at Auger.
- Production began in April 1994.
- As part of the 1997 facility expansion program, a new 16" oil pipeline was laid between
Auger and the SOI’s Enchilada platform (Garden Banks 128). The existing 12" oil pipeline,
terminating at Eugene Island Block 331, was also routed to Enchilada and was converted to
gas service. Gas from Auger was transported through two 12" lines: a) to Pioneer’s
Vermillion 397 and into the ANR system and b) to SOI’s Enchilada (GB128) platform, where
it went into the Garden Banks Gathering System.
- In April of 2000, the 16-inch oil line
to Enchilada was converted to gas, and the 12-inch gas line to
Enchilada was converted to oil, thereby raising the facility capacity
to 101 mm bo/d and 415 mm cf/d.
CONSTRUCTION AND FABRICATION
- The Auger superstructure was designed and engineered by Shell Oil Company.
- More than 740 companies in 30 states and 33 companies in 11 countries were involved in
the construction of the TLP. Over 900 vendors were ultimately involved in all phases of TLP
- The TLP is 3,280 feet high, from sea floor to the top of the flare tower.
- The steel weight of the TLP is 39,000 tons. Bullwinkle, the world's tallest fixed platform,
weighed over 77,000 tons.
- The TLP is designed to simultaneously withstand hurricane force waves of 71 feet and
winds of 140 mph.
- Hull Fabrication
- Shell awarded the contract for fabrication of the hull to Belleli S.p.A. in 1990.
- The hull, fabricated primarily at Taranto, Italy, left the fabrication yard in February
1993 and arrived at Freeport, TX in June 1993.
- The hull is comprised of four circular steel columns, 74 feet in diameter and 159 feet
high, and four rectangular steel pontoons, 35 feet wide and 28 feet high, which
connect the bottoms of the four columns.
- The hull weighs approximately 20,000 tons.
- Deck Fabrication
- Shell awarded the contract for the fabrication of the deck to McDermott
International, Inc. in 1990.
- The deck was fabricated at Morgan City, LA.
- The deck design is an open truss box girder, 290 feet x 330 feet x 70 feet high.
- The deck weighs approximately 10,500 tons steel. Total loadout weight exceeded
- Tendon Fabrication
- Various components of the tendons were manufactured by Oil States Industries in
Arlington, TX; ABB Vetco in Houston, TX; and Hunting Oilfield Services in Aberdeen,
- The tendon sections were assembled by Aker-Gulf Marine at Ingleside, TX.
- There are 12 tendons, 3 per corner, each with a diameter of 26 inches and a wall
thickness of 1.3 inches.
- Each tendon is approximately 2,760 feet long, assembled offshore from 236-foot
- Total weight for the 12 tendons is 5,800 tons.
- Foundation Fabrication
- The foundations were fabricated by Aker-Gulf Marine at Ingleside, TX.
- The foundations were installed on location by Herremac in November and December
- There are four foundations, one per corner, and consist of templates held in place
- The piles are connected to the templates by means of Hydro-Lok connectors.
- The templates are steel truss frames, 60 feet x 60 feet x 30 feet high.
- There are four piles per template, each 72 inches in diameter and 427 feet tall.
- The four templates weigh 2,440 tons, total.
- The 16 piles weigh 3,250 tons, total.
- Lateral Mooring System Fabrication
- The lateral mooring system consists of eight lines with a 9,000-foot radius.
- There are 8,650 feet of five-inch wire rope, made by Bridon Ropes of Doncaster,
England, and 1,800 feet of 5-3/16 inch chain per line, made by Ramnas of Ramnas,
- Emerson & Cuming of Canton, Massachusetts, made the two submersible buoys per
line, with 70 and 45-ton buoyancy each.
- There are eight 30-ton fixed fluke anchors, manufactured by Vryhof in the
- Liviar winches and take-up reels, made by AmClyde of St. Paul, Minnesota, are
located within the hull columns (2 each).
- Total weight is 6,000 tons.
- Drilling and Production Topsides
- The rig is designed for drilling, completion and workover operations and is rated for
- There are 32 well slots, arranged around a 75-foot x 200-foot rectangular well bay.
- There is a spread well layout on the sea floor, arranged in a 98-foot x 206-foot oval,
with 16-foot spacing. There is no wellhead template.
- There are complete separation, dehydration and treatment facilities that were
originally designed to process 46,000 barrels per day of oil, 125 million cubic feet of
gas per day, and 25,000 barrels per day of produced water. Post start-up facilities
projects increased capacity to about 72,000 barrels of oil and 165 million cubic feet
of gas per day.
- Another facility expansion was implemented in the summer of 1997 to allow
production rates of 100,000 barrels of oil per day and 300 million cubic feet of gas per
- The accommodation module is a five-story structure which accommodates 132
people, along with a central control room and emergency response center. It has
been designed as a safe haven capable of withstanding a hydrocarbon fire for four
MATING, TRANSPORTATION AND INSTALLATION
- Hull/Deck Mating
- In October 1993, McDermott completed the mating of the hull and the deck in the
Gulf of Mexico, approximately 70 miles south, southeast of Freeport, TX on Galveston
- McDermott's Derrick Barges 16 and 28 were moored adjacent to the hull and provided
crane and rigging support and quartering for the mating operations.
- Once the mating operations were completed, the superstructure (mated hull and
deck) was towed back to the Port of Freeport and ballasted to set on the bottom at
McDermott's hookup site.
- Hookup and commissioning of structural, piping, electrical and instrumentation
systems was completed in November 1993.
- TLP Installation
- Four steps were required to complete the installation of the Auger TLP in Garden
Banks 426: installing the preset portion of the lateral mooring system (LMS), towing
the TLP structure to location, connecting the TLP superstructure to the LMS and
installing and connecting of the tendons.
- Installation began in late November 1993 when McDermott, using its Derrick Barge 50,
installed the preset LMS.
- The superstructure was towed to the installation site in December 1993.
- TLP installation was completed in February 1994.
- Pipeline Installation
- Auger's oil and gas is piped to platforms in shallow water.
- Originally, two 12- pipelines were used to transport oil and gas. The oil was shipped
to Eugene Island Block 331 and the gas went to Mesa Pioneer’s Vermillion Block 397.
- The original pipelines were installed in three stages:
- Shallow water sections of the two lines (to 1,200 feet) were laid by McDermott
using the S-curve pipe-laying technique with the Derrick Barge 28 in May and
- In April 1993, deeper water sections of the two lines were laid by McDermott
using the near vertical J-curve technique with the Derrick Barge 50 as its
platform for the Auger J-lay. This technique had only been used commercially
once before and never in such deep water.
- The last three miles of pipe were laid after the TLP installation.
- Cardamom is located in 2,860 feet of water in Garden Banks Blocks 427 and 471,
approximately 9,200 feet east of the Auger TLP.
- The discovery well was drilled in 1995 in Garden Banks 427, and a second well was drilled in
- Cardamom is produced directly from the Auger TLP. Production began in October 1997, and
its rate is included in the Auger production rates.
- Total gross ultimate recovery is estimated at 35 mmbe.