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Stampede Milestone: Piles Loadout and Installation



Steve Whitaker

Project Director – Stampede Deepwater Development


Stampede is a deepwater development in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s in about 3,000 feet of water. It’s probably the largest offshore deepwater project Hess has ever done. It’s got some of the deepest wells in the world, which we’re going to be executing over the next couple of years.


Richard Stegemeier

Senior Facilities Engineer – Stampede Hull


We’re here today at Gulf Marine Fabricators in Ingleside, Texas. We’re in the process of loading out our pile foundations. Each barge will load out six piles, and then we’ll pull in another barge and load out the remaining six.


Chuck Willis

Installation Manager – Stampede Hull


The piles are 108-inch diameter at the bottom; they’re about 400 feet long. We drive them into the soil, and that’s how we hold the TLP on location. We connect the TLP to the tendons, the tendons connect to the piles, and that’s what holds it in position.


Steve Whitaker


Pile installation is probably the first major offshore campaign that we have on the site. This is a critical activity. We’re going to be putting twelve of these within a very small circle, and so this has to be done right, and it has to be done well, and it has to be done safely.


Chuck Willis


There are a lot of components to installing the piles. We not only have to make sure the piles can be lifted safely and not buckle, and make sure they’re supported properly on the barge, so that takes engineering to look at the motions of the barge during the tow out. It all takes a completely whole set of operations to lift that pile off the barge with two cranes on the derrick barge. They’ll pick it up and the Internal Lifting Tool will lower it to the sea floor and stab it in the sea floor.


Chuck Cinotto

Project Manager – Stampede Hull


It is a very big milestone for us. Not only is it the first major milestone for the project, but actually we were able to get it done in 2015. We try to work with our trusted partners, which Heerema is one, and try to work together and just get the job done. We finished it two days ahead of time. That’s 12 days for 12 piles, so in a 24-hour period, they were able to lift the pile, lower it through the water column 3,500 feet, put the hammer on top of it, and drive the pile 375 feet, and they got it within one degree of vertical tolerance, and they got it within one and a half feet of horizontal circle tolerance. So it’s quite an accomplishment.


Steve Whitaker


For the project as a whole, it’s one of the most significant pieces of work that we had leading up to the hull installation. The quality of the work and the safety record that they performed that work to was exceptional, and we were very pleased that were able to install the piles in this timeframe.