Chevron’s massive Big Foot project delayed again

Chevron's massive deep water offshore platform heads to the Gulf of Mexico. The project was slated to start production this year, but that's been delayed after several subsea installation tendons sustained damage. (Chevron)
Chevron’s massive deep water offshore platform heads to the Gulf of Mexico. The project was slated to start production this year, but that’s been delayed after several subsea installation tendons sustained damage. (Chevron)

Chevron’s massive Big Foot development deep in the Gulf of Mexico suffered another delay after the platform’s subsea installation tendons sustained damage.

Production won’t start later this year as planned because the company has to move the platform to sheltered waters while it assesses the problem.

Six of the 16 tendons already installed to tether the platform to the ocean floor sank in recent days. Chevron has deployed remotely operated vehicles to inspect the mile-long steel tubes and figure out what happened.

“We’re assessing damage to the tendons and will be undertaking an investigation to determine the exact cause,” Chevron said in a statement to Fuel Fix.

The platform did not suffer damage because it was not connected to any of the tendons or subsea wells when the incident occurred. There were no injuries or spills.

Analysts reacted unfavorably to the news that the gargantuan Big Foot project has been indefinitely placed on the back burner.

“The mishap … is clearly a negative from production, cash flow and operational excellence standpoints,” Roger Read, senior analyst at Wells Fargo wrote in a note to investors on Tuesday.

The delay means Chevron will likely miss out on its chance to pull 8,000 barrels per day this year from Big Foot, and another 30,000 barrels per day next year, Read wrote. Chevron owns a 60 percent stake in the project, which is designed to process 75,000 barrels of crude oil and 25 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Statoil holds a 27.5 percent stake and Marubeni Oil & Gas has a 12.5 percent share.

The $5.1 billion platform was sanctioned by Chevron in 2010 and was originally slated to start production in November 2014, but a strong loop current in the Gulf of Mexico preventing the platform from sailing out.

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