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Installing the Bullwinkle Oil Platform



Approximately 160 miles southwest of New Orleans, deep in the Gulf of Mexico in Green Canyon Block 65 is the Manatee Oil Field which is home to the gigantic Bullwinkle Oil Platform. 

The Bullwinkle platform being towed out of Texas in 1988

In 1988 the Bullwinkle platform was installed and recognised at the time as being the tallest structure ever built. Standing in 1,758 feet of water, the platform has a total height of 1,736 feet (529m) - 500 feet taller than the Empire State building.

Height comparison of freestanding structures, including the Bullwinkle platform

Construction of the Bullwinkle was undertaken by Gulf Marine Fabricators, who were awarded the contract for fabrication, transportation and installation of the jacket by Shell. Heerema Marine Contractors were selected by Gulf Marine Fabricators for the transportation and installation of the jacket. 

The Bullwinkle platform in the Gulf of Mexico

It took five years to construct the 77,000 tonne Bullwinkle platform, with two and a half years spent just building the jacket. Construction used 10 times the amount of steel as the Eiffel Tower. 

The platform’s rolled steel plate legs are between 120” and 54” in diameter with 48” diameter cross-bracing. They’re designed to resists hurricane force winds, 70 foot waves and a lifetime of stress-reversals induced by small waves. The 49,000 tonne jacket supports a 2,033 tonne deck. It was built to operate with an initial processing capacity of 59,000 barrels of oil per day and 100 million cubic feet of gas per day. 

In 1988 the Bullwinkle platform was towed into place

On completion, the jacket was towed 332 nautiful miles on an 853 foot barge from Texas to the field. Installation was itself an incredible feat, as seen in the video below. 

The Bullwinkle platform remains an impressively huge piece of offshore engineering long after its installation in 1988.

50 years of engineering

As part of Fircroft’s 50th anniversary, we’re looking back over the past half-century of engineering accomplishments. 1988 is the Bullwinkle Oil Platform, check back next week to see 1989.

With over 50 years of experience in recruiting engineering and technical professionals for the offshore oil and gas industry, Fircroft’s experienced team can help you secure your next job. Register with us for free to view the latest opportunities.

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Kindly forward the Available vacancies
BASKAR RAJAN, 27 May 2020
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Installing the Bullwinkle Oil Platform - Time to read 2 min
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