The 6 Biggest Offshore Oil Platforms in the World

Offshore platforms play a critical role in meeting global oil demands. Most of these platforms are located in the Gulf of Mexico, followed by the Persian Gulf. There are different types of platforms for varying purposes, including jack-up rigs, fixed platforms, semi-submersibles, and more. Some are meant for shallow waters closer to shore while others can operate in extremely deep waters in the middle of the ocean.

The biggest offshore oil platforms reach hundreds or thousands of feet down to the seabed and extend high above the water. They are immense structures that must not only house drilling equipment and storage facilities but must also accommodate their large crews. Here, we will take a closer look at the biggest offshore platforms in the world.

#6. Petronius

Located in the Gulf of Mexico about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans, Louisiana, Petronius is the sixth-largest offshore oil platform in the world. It was built from 1997 to 2000 and is operated by Chevron. Petronius is a compliant tower oil platform, which means it is designed to sway with the force of the ocean instead of attempting to withstand it. The tower’s flexible design allows it to sway more than 2% of its height. In comparison, most structures are designed to sway within 0.5% of their height.

Petronius at a glance:

  • Location: Gulf of Mexico
  • Total weight: 47,399 tons
  • Operating depth: 1,754 feet
  • Height: 246 feet
  • Capacity: 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe)/day

#5. Olympus

Owned by Shell, the Olympus is a tension leg oil platform used to further develop the Mars field in the Gulf of Mexico, extending its expected lifespan to 2050 or beyond. With 24 wells, production first began in 2014 and increased to a peak of 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent by 2016. The rig sits in approximately 3,100 feet of water and has produced more than 700 million barrels of oil. 192 jobs are supported by the Olympus.

The Olympus at a glance:

  • Location: Gulf of Mexico
  • Total weight: 132,227 tons
  • Operating depth: 3,100 feet
  • Height: 406 feet
  • Capacity: 100,000 boe/day

#4. Hibernia

The Hibernia is one of two offshore oil platforms on our list that operate in Arctic conditions. Located in the North Atlantic about 196 miles east of Newfoundland, Canada, Hibernia is a massive 496,040-ton gravity base structure (GBS) that first began producing in 1997. The heaviest offshore oil platform in the world, the Hibernia sits on the ocean floor in approximately 260 feet of water. It was built to withstand a collision with a 1.1-million-ton iceberg, which is only expected to happen once every 500 years. The Hibernia has already produced more than 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent; it is expected to continue producing beyond 2040.

The Hibernia at a glance:

  • Location: North Atlantic
  • Total weight: 496,040 tons
  • Operating depth: 260 feet
  • Height: 734 feet
  • Capacity: 220,000 boe/day (peak)

#3. Perdido

Operated by Shell, the Perdido is located in the Gulf of Mexico nearly 200 miles off the coast of Freeport, Texas, in waters that are about 8,000 feet deep. The structure is nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower and has a capacity of 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent and 200 million cubic feet of gas each day. 35 subsea wells are connected to the Perdido through a network of 27 miles of pipeline on the ocean floor. The Perdido requires a crew of 172 to operate the rig; they work in 12-hour shifts for 2 weeks at a time, followed by 2 weeks on shore.

Perdido at a glance:

  • Location: Gulf of Medico
  • Total weight: 10,000 tons
  • Operating depth: 8,000 feet
  • Height: 875 feet
  • Capacity: 100,000 boe/day

#2. Stones (Turritella FPSO)

Stones is a floating production, storage, and offloading facility (FPSO) project operated by Shell and located in the Gulf of Mexico about 200 miles southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana. Stones is the deepest oil and gas project on the planet, operating at approximately 9,500 feet. The FPSO, named Turritella, arrived in the Gulf of Mexico in January 2016 and started producing that September. At peak production, the Stones project can reach an estimated capacity of 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Turritella at a glance:

  • Location: Gulf of Mexico
  • Total weight: 7,500 tons
  • Operating depth: 9,500 feet
  • Vessel length: 900 feet
  • Capacity: 60,000 boe/day

#1. Berkut

The Berkut oil platform is located in the Sea of Okhotsk off the Russian Pacific Coast, just north of Japan. Subjected to subarctic conditions, the 220,000-ton gravity base structure was built to withstand extreme cold, 6.5-inch sea ice, earthquakes, and 52-foot waves. Berkut is fixed to the seabed in approximately 114 feet of water. The topside portion of Berkut is immense, measuring 344 feet in length, 197 meters wide, and 472 feet tall. The platform cost $12 billion to build and is expected to produce about 32 million barrels of oil each year.

Berkut at a glance:

  • Location: Russian Pacific Coast
  • Total weight: 220,462 tons
  • Operating depth: 114 feet
  • Height: 472 feet
  • Capacity: 88,000 boe/day

Protecting Offshore Workers’ Rights Since 2004

Working on an offshore platform is challenging but rewarding. Whether you work on one of the world’s biggest rigs or a smaller platform or vessel, you have the right to expect that you will have the training and equipment to do your job. You also have the right to expect that the platform where you work is properly maintained and free from undue hazards. At Arnold & Itkin, we have been fighting for offshore workers’ rights since 2004. We have helped people after the worst disasters find answers and recover fair compensation for what they have endured. To learn more, call (888) 346-5024.

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