• Petronius is a deepwater compliant tower oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, 210 km southeast of New Orleans. The platform is situated to exploit the Petronius field, discovered in 1995 in Viosca Knoll (block VK 786) and named after Petronius, the Roman writer.
• A compliant piled tower design, was the tallest free-standing structure in the world, until surpassed by the Burj Dubai in 2008, although this claim is disputed since only 75 meters of the platform are above water. The multi-deck topsides are 64 m x 43 m x 18.3 m high and hold 21 well slots.
• The seabed is 535 m (1,754 ft) below the platform. The compliant tower design is more flexible than conventional land structures to cope better with sea forces. It can deflect (sway) in excess of 2% of height. Most buildings are kept to within 0.5% of height in order to have occupants not feel uneasy during periods of movement. There are other structures which span greater depths to the ocean floor (eg. tension leg platforms), but compliant towers still demonstrate static stability albeit with greater degrees of lateral deformation (up to 2.5%) compared to land-based structures (usually 0.5% or less).
• Construction began in 1997 by J Ray McDermott with the seabed mooring system. The 4,000-ton North Module was installed in November 1998, but the attempt to install the slightly lighter South Module in December of that year ended with the unit on the seabed. A replacement module was built and installed by Saipem 7000 in May 2000.
• This tower is able to operate within a 25' sway envelope at the surface (1.4%) which is due to the 12 deep piles (3 at each corner) extending over 450 feet into the seabed.
• In 1989 during the installation of the second (South) topsides module, a lifting cable broke, sending the unit crashing to the sea floor. No damage to the tower occured as a result and efforts were made to ensure that the platform would not be delayed from its intended operating schedule.
• Cost: Totol Cost of US$ 500 Millions. The contract for the platform was budgeted at $ 200 million dollars.
• Weight: 43,000 tons (Tower) + 7,500 tons (Topsides).
• Production: 60,000 Barrels of Oil Equivalent + 100 MCF Gas per Day. Around 8,000 m³ (50,000 barrels) of oil and 2,000,000 m³ (70 million cubic feet) of natural gas are extracted daily by the rig.
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Drawing by Kelvin Fields
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