The massive steel spar structure, which is nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower, and weighs as much as 10,000 family cars, forms part of what will be the world's deepest spar production facility, operated by Shell on behalf of partners BP and Chevron.
Operating in ultra-deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Perdido Regional Development Spar will float on the surface in nearly 8,000 feet of water and is capable of producing as much as 130,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The spar will be secured in place by nine chain and polyester rope mooring lines, spanning an area of the seafloor roughly the size of downtown Houston.
On the seafloor, 22 wells, each extending more than 14,000 feet from the surface and into the mud and rock beneath the vast Alaminos Canyon, will be linked to the Perdido spar above. Oil will be brought to the surface against the extreme pressure of the deepwater by 1,500-horse-power electric pumps. Gas will be separated on the sea floor and naturally rise to the production unit on the surface.
Perdido will float 220 miles from Galveston, Texas, and provide living quarters for 150 personnel. The helicopter landing deck will accommode two long-range Sikorsky S92 helicopters simultaneously, each holding up to 24 passengers and crew.
Perdido is scheduled to begin production towards the end of the decade.