Apache Awarded First Contract To Lay Pipe

Santa Fe International Corporation's new pipelaying reel ship Apache has been awarded its first contract by BP Petroleum Development Ltd. to lay pipelines and control lines in the Buchan Field.

BP is the operator for the development of the Buchan Field on behalf of a group comprising BP, Natomas International, St. Joe Petroleum, Can Del Petroleum (UK) Ltd., Gas and Oil Acreage Ltd., Charterhall Oil Ltd., Lochiel Exploration (UK) Ltd., CCP North Sea Associates Ltd., and City Petroleum Company.

Apache is the first self-propelled and dynamically positioned vessel ever designed for laying steel pipelines from a reel. It is now under construction at Todd Shipyards Corporation, Galveston, Texas, shipyard, and is scheduled to be delivered early next year.

E.L. Shannon Jr., Santa Fe president, said the 400-foot-long ship will sail to the North Sea to begin work on the Buchan Field project soon after undergoing sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico during February or March.

The vessel's first project will involve laying a 12-inch crude-oil loading line between an existing subsea template and a pipeline end manifold. The Apache also will lay four 4-inch flowlines and two umbilical control lines connecting the template with subsea wellheads in 360 to 390 feet of water.

Other work to be performed by the Apache will include the installation of the pipeline end manifold and making pipeline tie-ins.

Underwater work will be performed by a team of Santa Fe divers. The vessel will be equipped with a saturation diving system to support divers at water depths to 1,500 feet.

Mr. Shannon said the Apache will be able to lay pipe from 4 to 16 inches in diameter from a vertical reel which can carry from 5 to 50 miles of prewelded pipe, depending on its diameter. The ship is designed for pipelaying in maximum water depths of 2,000 to 3,000 feet.

Buchan Field is about 96 miles east-northeast of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Other stories from November 15, 1978 issue


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