Cassia C is an offshore compression facility which will form part of our Cassia hub. The hub originally consisted of two platforms – Cassia A and B, so Cassia C, which can stand for platform ‘C’ or ‘compression’ will be the third platform at our Cassia hub. This will be our first offshore compression project and it will enable bpTT to access and produce low pressure gas resources from what we call the Greater Cassia Area.
The Cassia hub is an important part of our infrastructure. It accounts for about 40 percent of the gas we produce. Basically, compression will allow us to access resources which we couldn’t before by lowering the system pressure, allowing lower pressure gas to flow to market. We expect Cassia C to deliver about 200-300 million standard cubic feet a day when it comes online and that production will go towards meeting our existing gas supply commitments. Cassia C is also important to our bp group. It’s one of the major projects that bp has committed to deliver this year and we're focused on meeting that commitment.
As project general manager, I am responsible for bpTT’s major projects. For Cassia C that means providing oversight and removing obstacles, ensuring that the team working on the project, from project manager to the front-line delivery teams are integrating work and efficiently and safely delivering their part of what is a very complex project. Personally, I’m proud to be part of this project. I’ve been involved with the delivery of several of bpTT’s major projects since Cannonball in 2005 in different capacities. I remember the thrill of contributing to the delivery of new gas projects for T&T as a young project engineer working on Cannonball – a feeling which still remains today as the accountable person for Cassia C. I’ve seen the progression from the ‘clone’ approach that allowed us to build Cannonball, Mango, Cashima, Savonette and Serrette right here in Trinidad at the TOFCO fabrication yard and in recent times the Juniper topsides, and now Cassia C jacket and bridge landing frame. I feel proud to know just how much talent from Trinidad and Tobago has gone into designing, engineering, constructing and commissioning these major projects over the years.
All major developments like Cassia C involve a lot of coordination among teams and contractors from different parts of the business and different parts of the world and that includes many of the Government ministries and regulatory agencies as well. Each stage is important. For example, it starts with an understanding of the subsurface and how best to access the gas resources. In this case our subsurface team identified these low pressure resources and developed a plan to integrate them into our production. That’s how we would have come up with the idea for compression. From there you need to design the infrastructure, build it with materials and services sourced from the world over, then install and finally bring it online after a period of commissioning and testing the equipment that is on the platform. It’s also about managing a range of suppliers at the various stages of project and a number of safety risks that come with projects of this scale and complexity. As a global organization, bp approaches projects like these using people from across our business. For Cassia, we had teams from T&T, Houston and Mexico working together.
Cassia C differs from our other platforms in a couple of ways. Firstly, it’s bpTT’s first offshore compression facility. That meant a different design concept and approach. Secondly, Cassia C is bpTT’s largest offshore facility. As a comparison, it’s about nine times bigger than Cannonball, etc and about twice the size of Juniper. The size and weight of the facility influenced the decision to build the topsides in Altamira, Mexico. We were happy to be able to fabricate the jacket and bridge landing frame, which supports the bridge connected to Cassia B, at TOFCO in La Brea. Finally, we are using an innovative solution to manage efficiency of the facility. Compressors are an essential component of the facility and we will be leasing the compressors from the provider who will be responsible for ensuring that the compressors keep running. This is a new approach as essentially, the provider gets paid if the compressors are running as planned, which will benefit bpTT and help us to ensure that the gas keeps flowing.
The project is in the final stages of the commissioning phase now – and this is an exciting point in the project. There are people both onshore and offshore, in Trinidad and Tobago and from many other countries all working with one common goal which is to get the facility started this year. This final step includes making sure that everything is in place to start up the facility safely and to ensure it stays up. To give an idea of the scale, there are about three hundred people working on the facility to prepare for first gas. So much so that we have hired an offshore floating accommodation facility, also known as a flotel to house all of them. The crew is largely national which allows us to maximize the great talent we have here and to provide job opportunities for our national labour force many of whom also come from our host community of Mayaro.
COVID-19 has had an impact on our schedule throughout this project because we have had to deliver the execute stage of this project while also managing COVID-19 risks. We had to make sure we were looking after the health of our people and complying with various public health measures both in Mexico and in the hook up and commissioning phase in Trinidad. It’s easy to forget just how disruptive COVID-19 was for all of us now that many of the restrictions have been lifted, but it was a very challenging environment to execute such a large project in. The good thing was that we had a lot of support from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of National Security to get materials and people into the country and at the worksite. This took a lot of communication and a lot of coordination. Operating through the pandemic meant having to come up with new policies and procedures and although project schedules were impacted this was necessary to ensure the safety of everyone who was working on the project. I’m proud of the way the teams handled these challenges and I’m especially proud of the amount of collaboration that took place among contractors, other upstream operators and the Government that allowed us to manage public health and supported business continuity. One sometimes overlooked fact was the tremendous personal sacrifice our worksite teams endured through long periods of quarantine and time away from family as we managed through very difficult stages of the pandemic.
Most recently the commitment of the team to deal with COVID-19 while delivering the project was a great accomplishment but looking at the project as a whole, I’m proud of the local content impact. The jacket and bridge landing frame were built at TOFCO’s fabrication yard and this jacket was the biggest ever built for bpTT locally. Although the topsides was built in Mexico, there were many nationals who had the opportunity to work in Mexico as part of the contractor team. There was also significant local content in the brownfield work that had to be done on our existing facilities to prepare for compression and there has also been significant local labour hiring during the hook up and commissioning phase of the project offshore. In all, there would have been over 500 nationals employed over the life of the project. I think that says a lot for T&T’s development.