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The Bullwinkle Project, 1989 OCEA
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Upon installation, the Bullwinkle production platform was the world’s tallest pile-supported platform, and tallest offshore platform for petroleum extraction in the world - with a base of 408ft by 487 ft, and height of 1,615 ft, weighing more than 75,000 tons. The Bullwinkle’s structural design requirements included support of two drilling rigs during hurricane-produced wind and waves while maintaining a stable, functional, and livable site for its crew. Bullwinkle’s jacket, made up of more than 40,000 tons of tubular steel, represents more than half of the structure’s weight. During fabrication, sections of the jacket were built vertically, then turned horizontally and connected to the larger structure which was assembled lying on its side. This technique reducedthe need for (and expense of) vertical lift in fabrication of the complete structure. Throughout the process, each movement was given its own separate structural analysis.

 

The complete structure was towed from Ingleside, Texas to its placement in the Gulf of Mexico (160 miles southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana) using what was, at the time, the largest barge ever built. The process of fabricating and towing the Bullwinkle in a single piece was not only a remarkable, never-before-achieved feat, but it eliminated the need for underwater welders to assemble structural pieces on-site and reduced installation costs. As a whole, the design, fabrication, and installation of the Bullwinkle were accomplished on a budget of $250 million. In recognition of the extraordinary complexity and magnitude of this project, it won the Texas Section OCEA Award in 1989, and also the ASCE National OCEA in the same year. The award plaque is on display at the One Shell Building Museum in Houston. 

Owner: 

 Shell Offshore Inc.

Engineer:
 Shell Oil Co.-Houston, Civil Engineering Group
Contractor: 

 Heerema Marine Contractors (installation), working as a subcontractor to Bullwinkle  Constructors (fabrication), a subsidiary of Gulf Marine Fabricators, at Ingleside, TX.


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