Offshore production jacket headed for Louisiana – Corpus Christi Caller-Times

INGLESIDE — It has been a part of Coastal Bend’s landscape for months, and is visible from as far away as downtown Corpus Christi.

Now a massive offshore oil-production jacket that has been under construction in Ingleside the last 2 ½ years is on its way to Louisiana.

Land-based work on the 30,000-ton jacket, which is part of a larger exploration dubbed the Coelacanth Project, has recently wrapped up. By Tuesday, the skyscraper-sized structure had been loaded onto a barge that will carry it to an offshore site south Houma, Louisiana, said Todd F. Ladd, executive vice president and COO of Gulf Island Fabrication Inc., the company that owns the Coelacanth.

Gulf Island builds offshore drilling and production platforms, and other specialized structures used in the development of offshore oil and gas reserves.

Officials for Gulf Marine Fabricators, a subsidiary company based in Ingleside, hosted an open house Tuesday to share updates on the project with the public and other energy companies.

In March 2013, Gulf Island received a letter of intent from the Walter Oil and Gas Corp. to build the topsides for the Coelacanth at Ewing Bank 834, an offshore project off the Louisiana coast. Work on the project began shortly afterward, but the sloped 1,200-foot metal structure became visible to outsiders about eight or nine months.

When fully operational, the Coelacanth will be able to produce 30,000 barrels of oil and 60 million cubic feet of natural gas each day.

While platforms are the most visual part of any offshore rig, there’s more to the system. Jackets refer to the metal framework that reaches to ocean floor to support the deck and topsides of a platform.

The Coelacanth was a huge undertaking for Gulf Island — literally.

The width of its base is more than 400 feet across. It’s as wide as the south tower of One Shoreline Plaza is tall.

When it finally stands upright, the Coelacanth’s vertical height will be 1,250 feet, or roughly the same height as the Empire State Building, minus its antenna and spire.

“It would be the tallest standing structure in Texas and the fifth-tallest in the country,” said Kirk J. Meche, Gulf Island’s president/CEO. “This is a big hunk of steel.”

About 500 contractors worked on the site during the project. Installing the jacket will be take about a month and a half, Ladd said.

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