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Twenty-one deepwater structures were decommissioned through 2016, five floaters and
16 fixed platforms. Deepwater structures have
been decommissioned every year since 2009,
usually one or two per year, with higher levels
of activity in 2011 and 2016.
All the semisubmersibles were towed back to
shore for decommissioning, while the majority
of the other deepwater structures were either
reefed in-place or towed to a deepwater reef site.
Fourteen of the 16 decommissioned fixed
platforms were primarily gas producers, and
the average time to decommission after the
last year of production was five years, with a
range between two to 10 years.
Eight structures, all gas producers, had
inflation-adjusted gross revenues of less than
$3 million (2014$) the last year of production
(average $750,000). In addition, these same
eight structures had an average gross rev-
enue of $6.1 million the second-to-last year of
production, suggesting that on average once
a deepwater gas platform generates about $6
million it has two years or so before it becomes
uneconomic, and then another five years on
average before it will be decommissioned.
The average and median inflation-adjusted
economic limits for all decommissioned fixed
platforms were $9.9 million and $2.7 million,
respectively. The large difference between
these statistics is due to two structures with
unusually high terminal revenues of $58 and
In total, seven structures had economic
limit less than $2 million and 14 structures
had economic limit less than $10 million.
Five floaters have been decommissioned
through 2016: GC29/Llano (semi, 1989), Cooper (semi, 1999), Typhoon (MTLP, 2006), Red
Hawk (spar, 2014), and Gomez (semi, 2014).
Chevron’s Typhoon MTLP suffered cata-
strophic damage from Hurricane Rita in Sep-
tember 2005 and was decommissioned at a
deepwater reef site at Eugene Island 367 in
After ATP Oil & Gas declared bankruptcy
in 2013 and no buyers for its Gomez semi-
submersible could be found, it was decommissioned in March 2014 and towed back to
port at Ingleside, Texas.
Anadarko decommissioned the Red Hawk
spar in September 2014 at a deepwater reef
site in Eugene Island 384.
The three semisubmersibles were each
removed within one year of last production,
Typhoon was decommissioned two years after
last production, and Red Hawk was decommissioned six years after last production.
Inflation-adjusted revenues the last year of
production for the five floaters ranged from
$4.1 to $82 million, and the average revenue
was $33 million ($31.2 million median). •
Table 1. Deepwater structures decommissioned in the Gulf of Mexico, 1989-2016.
WaterDepth 1989 1999 2005 2006 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
400-500 2 1 3 1 1 1
500-1500 1 2 1 1 2
>1500 1 1 1 2
Total 1 1 2 212411213
Source: Data from BOEM 2016.