A Tour of Brutus, Shell’s off-shore tension leg platform (TLP)

With offshore exploration and production in the news, let’s visit one of the recently constructed platforms: Brutus ,165 miles southwest of Louisana.
Brutus operates in around 3000 feet of water, and produces oil and gas from target zones between 12,500 and 17,500 feet below the seabed. We were invited by the American Petroleum Institute (API) to visit Brutus as part of a small group of bloggers. Unfortunately, Clay’s plane decided not to leave San Francisco and therefore he could not make it. This explains the shaky footage from time to time, all shot by yours truly with my handheld little Canon.

Brutus is a Tension-Leg Platform (TLP) that is tethered to the sea floor by tendons. The facility makes all its own power — generally from the natural gas it produces — and desalinates sea water for drinking.
Brutus began operation in 2001, and was designed with a maximum capacity of 100,000 barrels of oil and 150 million cubic feet of gas per day. The current production is quite a bit less than that (the day before our visit production was around 30,000 barrels of oil), and Shell is investigating techniques to enhance production.

I especially enjoyed meeting the crew: the head safety officer who wears a hard hat with a sticker on it that says “organ donor”, the drill foreman known as “Tadpole”, and the big boss who spent quite a bit of time with us to explain the running of an offshore operation, amongst others.

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