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Maritime Image of the Day: “The Bullwinkle” oil platform

PortandTerminal.com, November 25, 2019

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – “Bullwinkle” is a 1,736 feet (529 m) tall oil platform that was towed as one single piece and installed in the Gulf of Mexico in 1988. It was installed in 1988 by Shell in the Gulf of Mexico and is regarded as one of the most extraordinary engineering feats of the 20th century.

Oil platforms like the Bullwinkle are also called “jackets”. They are constructed to sit on the ocean floor and, by virtue of their immobility, designed for very long term use. The Bullwinkle is still in use today, 31 years after its installation.

Bullwinkle used 10 times the amount of steel as the Eiffel Tower and weighed over 50,000 tonnes. Construction of the jacket took 2.5 years and to tow it out to sea, an 853 ft long barge—also the world’s largest at the time—was constructed. The entire project took over 5 years and cost over $500 million in the 1980s.

Shell spent more than $500 million to build, install and develop the platform in addition to $34.5 million to lease the three blocks of seabed that make up the Bullwinkle prospect. The site is located 330 miles east of Corpus Christi and 150 miles southwest of New Orleans. Today, Bullwinkle belongs to Fieldwood Energy LLC.


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