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Pipelay Record Set in Deepwater GOM

The Lewek Constellation, a subsea construction vessel performing work for Noble Energy Inc. in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM), said it has set an industry pipelay record in 7,368 feet of water.

The vessel, the flagship of EMAS AMC, is doing prep work for three Noble-operated subsea tieback projects -- Big Bend, Dantzler and Gunflint field developments in Mississippi Canyon (MC) (see Daily GPIJune 17, 2014). Lewek Constellation is the flagship subsea construction vessel of EMAS AMC, which finalized combined contracts worth about $300 million last year with Noble for the subsea projects. Total scope includes more than 80 miles of pipe-in-pipe flowlines and more than 56 miles of umbilicals.

The pipelay record was broken during a final trial to deploy a two-mile, 16-inch diameter pipeline. The tension recorded was nearly 1.4 million pounds, rendering it the highest tension "ever experienced in the history of rigid reeled-lay operations," EMAS said.

Gunflint, a 2008 discovery, and Big Bend, a 2012 discovery, were sanctioned in 2013 and are to provide the next leg of production growth for Noble's deepwater business (see Daily GPIJune 18, 2013Oct. 15, 2008). Noble operates the wells with partners that include W&T Offshore Inc., Red Willow Offshore LLC and Houston Energy Deepwater Ventures V LLC. Ridgewood Energy Corp., a private equity, also has partnered to help fund Dantzler and other offshore projects (seeDaily GPI, Jan. 13, 2014).

Big Bend, as part of the Rio Grande complex, initially is to be a one-well tieback with first production estimated late this year.

Dantzler is planned as a two-well tie-back using Big Bend infrastructure, with initial startup also by the end of this year. Gunflint is planned as a two-well tieback with ramp up expected by the middle of 2016. Combined, the fields are expected to double Noble's deepwater production.

Project management, engineering and procurement are underway from EMAS Houston headquarters. Plans are to fabricate 16 subsea structures, as well as stalk and spool more than 160 miles of line pipe, at the EMAS Marine Base facility in Ingleside, TX, near Corpus Christi.

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