Marathon Oil links to new Gulf of Mexico Discovery

A massive welding and spooling operation is underway in south Texas, as Marathon Oil lays new pipeline on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. Ed Mayberry reports.

A web of subsea pipelines bring in petroleum products from thousands of producing platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.  Marathon Oil's Droshky Project is a $1.3 billion development 160 miles southwest of New Orleans.  Forty-foot sections of pipe are welded together into 4,000-foot sections in Port Isabel, as project manager Cathy Krajicek explains, for spooling onto a large pipe-lay vessel.

"So we take those 4,000-foot-long pieces of pipe, and we start winding them around this giant drum that's on this vessel."

Welding

Ed: "So the pipe, the metal gives enough to be spooled."

"It actually gives, it bends to be spooled onto the vessel.  So there's guiders that sort of guide it onto the drum and allow it to bend properly and then when we go offshore to lay the pipe, the pipe is straightened out before it's layed on the seabed."

Marathon's Dave Roberts says this marks a re-emergence in the Gulf of Mexico.

"It is the biggest driver of what we expect is going to be another year of production growth.  And as a company that produces circa 400,000 barrels a day, is what our target's for this year, you can see that a field that comes on at 40,000 barrels a day, to me, is a significant impact to Marathon."

The pipe from Germany was coated and insulated in Pearland before being shipped by 500 trucks to Port Isabel for welding and spooling.

"It's just a few degrees above freezing at 3,000 feet of water.  So although our flow line is eight inches in diameter, after we get the insulation and coating on, it's actually a foot in diameter."

Ed:  "Where did the name Droshky Project come from?"

"Droshky is the southern extention of a field called Troika, and a troika is a Russian carriage that's pulled by three horses, and Troika was named in honor of the three companies that participated in the original field development.  Well, Marathon is 100 per cent in Droshky, and Droshky is a Russian carriage pulled by one horse."    

Parallel pipelines will be online sometime in the new year, with a planned lifespan of about seven years. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
 

Port Isabel

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...