Petronius A


Petronius A Platform


03 Dec 1998


Viosca Knoll, Gulf of Mexico


Texaco Exploration and Production Inc.


The Petronius field was discovered in 1995 and is located in Viosca Knoll, Gulf of Mexico, about 130 miles (200km) south-east of New Orleans. Standing in almost 1800 feet of water, the 2000 foot tall Petronius platform is a compliant piled tower which is designed to sway safely with wind and waves and so avoid damage from even hurricane force conditions. The facility came online in July 2000 and the operator, Chevron-Texaco, shares a 50/50 stake in the installation with Marathon Oil.

Dropped Object

The installation is composed of three sections: the tower, the north deck module and the south deck module. Once the tower was on location, the north module was succesfully installed at the end of November 1998. On 03 December 1998, the south module was being lifted from the MWB-403 transport barge by the DB50 crane barge before being installed on the Petronius tower. The module was suspended for around 5 minutes in a fixed lift when one of the crane load lines broke, causing the module to swing into the stern of the DB50, strike the transport barge and then fall to the seabed of the Gulf of Mexico.

Texaco subsequently informed the Minerals Management Service that the module could not be recovered safely due to the water depth. The loss set the Petronius project back by about a year while a replacement module was constructed. This module was successfully installed in May 2000 and the facility went on to produce an average of 42,000 barrels of oil and 65 million cubic feet of gas per day.

In September 2004, Petronius A suffered further misfortune when the eye of Hurricane Ivan passed over the platform, damaging the crew quarters, deck structures and production equipment. The platform resumed production in March 2005.


MMS: Incident Detail
Rigzone: Petronius project detail
Offshore Magazine: Texaco evaluating options for Petronius continuation
Rigzone: Marathon Returns Petronius to Production

1. Offshore Technology
2. PennWell Corp
3. Petronius A Tower