Big Foot Oil Pipeline, United States of America

The Big Foot Oil Pipeline in the US Gulf of Mexico will be constructed by Enbridge Inc, a Canada-based company. A letter of intent was signed by Enbridge on 5 October 2009 with Chevron USA, Statoil Gulf of Mexico LLC and Marubeni Oil and Gas (USA).

On 29 July 2009 Enbridge announced it would construct, own and operate the $500m Walker Ridge Gathering System (WRGS), which will aggregate and transport natural gas for the proposed Jack, St Malo and Big Foot fields, which are operated by Chevron. The Big Foot Oil Pipeline is complementary to the project.

The pipeline will be located 170 miles south of the Louisiana coast. The estimated cost of the project is $250m and will be funded by Enbridge using the company's own money.

The Big Foot Oil Pipeline will transport crude oil to a subsea connection. The pipeline will be 40 miles long, have a 20in diameter and will be situated at a depth of approximately 5,900ft. It will have a transporting capacity of 100,000bpd.

Engineering and consulting group Cronus Technology Inc (CTI) has been selected as consultant for the Big Foot Oil Pipeline project and is working on the pipeline's design. The project is expected to be completed by 2012.

Design of the Big Foot pipeline

"Cronus Technology is consultant for the Big Foot pipeline."

CTI set up a project management and engineering team to manage the Big Foot pipeline project and decide what its route would be.

CTI will draft the basic design documents, conduct hydraulic analysis and will help select equipment and materials. In addition, CTI will perform cost estimates and develop overall project schedules and technical studies related to the project's development.

In March 2011, Global Engineering and Construction, a subsidiary of Foster Wheeler, was selected to carry out the detailed design of the pipeline project. The company will also work on the WRGS. The work is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2011.

Big Foot oilfield

Located in Walker Ridge block 29 in the US Gulf of Mexico, the Big Foot oilfield is one of the largest and deepest in the gulf. The field was discovered by California-based energy company Chevron Corporation in January 2006. Chevron, the operator holds a 60% interest in the field. Other stakeholders include Statoil (27.5%) and Marubeni Oil & Gas (12.5%).

The field is located at a water depth of 5,000ft, approximately 225 miles south of New Orleans. Exploration and delineation wells in the Big Foot field indicate a 90m pay zone.

Big Foot was ranked the eighth-largest deepwater field in the Gulf of Mexico by Paul Siegele of Deep Water Exploration and Projects in 2007.

Development of Big Foot oilfield began in December 2010. Chevron sanctioned $4bn for its development, which will include 15 well slots, a dry tree extended tension leg platform and an onboard drilling rig.

The development drilling is expected to start in 2013 and the field will come onstream in 2014.

Hydrocarbon estimates at the Big Foot oil and gas reservoir are 75,000 barrels of oil and 25MMcf per day. The total recoverable resources are estimated at about 200 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Jack and St Malo fields

Discovered in July 2004, the Jack oilfield is located in Walker Ridge in blocks 759 and 758. The field is situated in 7,000ft of water and is operated by Chevron.

"The Big Foot pipeline will transport crude oil to a subsea connection."

The St Malo field, located in Walker Ridge block 678 at a depth of 2,100ft, was discovered in October 2003. The field is 250 miles south of New Orleans and is also operated by Chevron.

The Jack and St Malo fields will be developed together. Their combined development was sanctioned in October 2010.

The initial investment for development of the fields is estimated to be $7.5bn. Both fields are expected to start-up in 2014.

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