Perdido (oil platform)

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SSCV Thialf with gangway on Perdido (left).

Perdido is the deepest floating oil platform in the world at a water depth of about 2450 meters (8000 feet) operated by the Shell Oil Company in the Gulf of Mexico.[1]

The Perdido is located in the Perdido fold belt which is a rich discovery of crude oil and natural gas that lies in water that is nearly 8000 feet deep. The platform's peak production will be 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. At 267 meters, the Perdido is nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower.

Construction and assembly[edit]

The spar and the topsides of the Perdido were constructed separately and then assembled in its final position in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Perdido's hull or spar was constructed by Technip in Pori, Finland. A barge shipped the 22,000 tonne spar 13,200 kilometres (8,200 miles) from the Baltic Sea to the Gulf of Mexico. After floating the spar, it was towed to its final home above the Alaminos canyon 320 kilometres (120 miles) from the shore. The spar was rotated by the Balder from a horizontal to a vertical floating position by pumping water through hoses attached to the spar. It was then anchored by the Balder to piles in the seafloor.

The platform has three decks or topsides which support the oil and gas processing units, a drilling rig and living quarters for the workers. The temperature difference between Finland and Texas posed a challenge in assembling the pieces as the components built in cold of northern Europe expand in the heat of the Gulf of Mexico. Computer-guided lasers marked out the measurements to ensure precision. After the decks were constructed, in March 2009 the Thialf lifted the 9,500 tonne topsides onto four posts on the spar and slotted it into position.


Operated by Shell, with JV partners Chevron (37.5%) and BP (27.5%), the spar acts as a hub for and enables development of three fields Great White, Tobago, and Silvertip. The oil and gas fields beneath the platform lie in a geological formation holding resources estimated at 3-15 billion barrels of oil equivalent according to a report by the BSEE, formerly known as the MMS. At peak production, Perdido processes 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, and 200 million cubic feet of gas.


The twenty-two oil wells that the Perdido extracts oil from are connected to a 44 kilometre (27 mile) network of pipelines on the ocean floor that link it to five flexible pipes called risers. A workforce of 172 people keep it up and running. They work in 12-hour shifts for 2 weeks followed by 2 weeks off, back on land.


The platform has extensive safety equipment to protect workers in this remote location. It has the largest rescue boat used on any Shell facility, which has room for 24 people. The living quarters are blast-resistant and the number of fire and gas detectors used is ten times more than any other installations in the Gulf. Perdido's helipad can accommodate two Sikorsky S-92 helicopters that can carry 19 passengers each. This is more than twice the capacity of helicopters usually used in the Gulf. This makes it possible to evacuate the workers faster during an emergency.


  1. ^ "Perdido - Shell Global". Shell.


  • [1] (Shell - Perdido)
  • [2] (Assembling the platform)
  • [3] (Living on the platform)
  • [4] (NYT - Risk-Taking Rises as Oil Rigs in Gulf Drill Deeper)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 26°7′44″N 94°53′53″W / 26.12889°N 94.89806°W / 26.12889; -94.89806