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Open Access Deepwater Geotechnical Investigations in the Gulf of Mexico

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This paper discusses Shell Offshore Inc.'s current deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM) geotechnical investigation practice. The development of the geotechnical investigation prognosis and its components are outlined. The paper discusses the range of water depths, site soils, platform types, investigation vessels, and in situ tools that have been used. Both standard and advanced laboratory testing schemes are presented and their purposes discussed. The importance of integrated geophysical studies for defining investigation scopes is highlighted. The use of the data for the design of surface and subsea development structure foundations and exploration and production wells is reviewed. The Mars Tension Leg Platform (TLP) site is provided as an example of an integrated geotechnical investigation. Finally, the paper proposes directions for advances and development in geotechnical investigations and associated technology for the 21st century.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 1997

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