Offshore Challenge

by Gordon H. Moore, (M.ASCE), Project Mgr.; Freeport Research and Engrg. Co., New Orleans, LA,
Juan J. Campo, (M.ASCE), Sr. Supervisor; McDermott Engrg., New Orleans, LA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 10, Pg. 48-51

Document Type: Feature article


Standard design techniques weren't enough to create rigs for the Main Pass Mine, which, at 67 million long tons, is the largest offshore sulfur mine in U.S. history. The 18 platforms, sitting in 200 ft of water 15 mi east of the Mississippi Delta, feature sulfur, gas and oil production rigs, as well as facilities for storage, loading, living quarters and power generation. Not only are they counted on to last twice as long as normal platforms, they must stand up to a mile wide subsidence bowl that mining is expected to create. In some spots, the sea floor will sink up to 60 ft, in others it will move some 35 ft to the side. To overcome these challenges, engineers from McDermott International, New Orleans and Freeport-McMoRan, New Orleans, created piling from steel commonly used for submarines, and designed the platforms to be raised and levelled to maintain their wave clearance. The resulting $850 million complex is designed to withstand not just a 100-year storm, but the kind that arrives every two centuries as well.

Subject Headings: Water storage | Sulfur | Storage facilities | Hydro power | Wells (oil and gas) | Submerging | Storms

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