Natural gas production began moving through the landmark Independence Hub in the Gulf of Mexico Thursday from the first of 15 subsea wells in 10 anchor fields. Producers said they expect to bring production up to the hub’s 1 Bcf/d capacity by late 2007.

Located in 8,000 feet of water on Mississippi Canyon block 920, approximately 123 miles southeast of Biloxi, MS, the Independence Hub is the deepest production platform ever installed and also is the world’s largest offshore gas processing facility. Installation was completed earlier this year (see Daily GPI, March 9).

The project is backed by the Atwater Valley Producers Group, which consists of Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Devon Energy Corp., Eni and Hydro, along with the owners of the Independence Hub, Enterprise Products Partners LP and Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc. First gas was achieved on schedule and within budget, the group said Friday.

“The Independence project is a remarkable accomplishment by our industry,” said Anadarko CEO Jim Hackett. “It is a true testament to the collaboration of the partners and the ingenuity of the individuals who worked to deliver these once unreachable resources to American consumers. Together we achieved first production on time and within budget from a world-record-setting facility in an ultra-deep area of the Gulf where previously there was no infrastructure.”

The project is seen as a blueprint for future deepwater exploration (see Daily GPI, Oct. 23, 2006).

First sales were received from the Atlas No. 1 well located on Lloyd Ridge block 50. The well is expected to ramp up to a rate of approximately 50 MMcf/d over the next week. The block was awarded as a result of Lease Sale 181 in 2001, which opened a new area of the eastern Gulf of Mexico to exploration. Most of the additional 14 wells have been completed and flow-tested — the majority of which demonstrated flow rates above 50 MMcf/d — and will be brought on stream one at a time during 2007.

The Independence Hub is a 105-foot, deep-draft, semi-submersible platform with a two-level production deck. The gas processed through the Hub when operating at full capacity represents an increase of more than 10% in supplies from the Gulf of Mexico. The platform is operated by Anadarko and owned 80% by Enterprise and 20 % by Helix. Anadarko has reserved approximately 61% of the capacity on the Hub, Eni approximately 20%, Hydro 12.5% and Devon 6.5%.

The Independence Trail pipeline, 100% owned and operated by Enterprise, connects the Hub platform to onshore markets via an interconnect with the Tennessee Gas Pipeline at Enterprise’s West Delta block 68 shallow-water manifold platform. The pipeline is approximately 134 miles long, 24 inches in diameter and has the capacity to transport up to 1 Bcf/d.

Independence Hub set numerous world records during its construction and installation, which include the world’s deepest:

©Copyright 2007Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.