Williams Partners L.P. is moving ahead with key construction milestones and progress on a tieback expansion as its proprietary Gulfstar FPS (Floating Production System) nears completion in the eastern deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The Gulfstar One project is the first spar-based floating production system with major components built entirely in the United States.
Williams Partners’ made-in-America Gulfstar One is 21,500 tons of proof that American engineering and construction are alive and well. The hull of the floating production system was towed out and positioned in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico before the topside platform was installed in March 2014.
After mooring the floating spar to the ocean floor in February, crews in March lifted and installed Gulfstar’s three-level topside structure. The floating production system is moored 135 miles southeast of New Orleans in about 4,000 feet of water. It will serve as a hub that aggregates production and then combines production handling services with oil and gas export pipeline services, which feed Williams’ downstream oil and gas gathering and processing services.
Once operational, the Gulfstar’s base design will produce up to 60,000 bopd and 135 MMscf/d of gas with additional tieback capacity. With hook-up and commissioning activities currently underway, Gulfstar is on schedule to start serving anchor customers in the third quarter of 2014 and Gunflint in 2016.
In addition to previously announced anchor commitments, Gulfstar in January executed agreements with Gunflint field owners Noble Energy, Inc., Ecopetrol America Inc., Marathon Oil Company and Samson Offshore, LLC. The Gunflint tieback is designed and engineered with modifications expected to be completed after the base Gulfstar project is completed.
Rory Miller, senior vice president of Williams’ Atlantic-Gulf operating area, said, “As a midstream company, Williams is focused on infrastructure solutions of this nature that connect the best supplies with the highest-value markets. Gulfstar is one of approximately $4.5 billion in large-scale projects we expect to bring into service in 2014 and 2015.”
Gulf Marine Fabricators built the hull of the Gulfstar in Aransas Pass, TX and Gulf Island Fabrication, Inc. constructed the topsides in Houma, LA.
Williams Partners developed the Gulfstar One project and has a 51% ownership interest. Marubeni Corporation has a 49% interest in the project.