Shell Ursa TLP

Ursa is one of the most ambitious engineering projects ever conceived - a gigantic TLP, constructed in several countries and assembled overseas, it was towed under full power to MC 809.

SONOCO was involved in this project beginning almost a year before construction was completed. During fabrication, we provided foodservice management and housekeeping for the Shell offices at McDermott's Amelia facility.

Prior to commissioning, SONOCO did real-world testing of all equipment - preparing several hundred meals in the process. We worked with manufacturers to assure that all equipment met Shell's requirements, and readied it for towing overseas to Curacao.

We worked with the Logistics, Material and Utilities teams in coordinating the delivery of thousands of pounds of equipment, linen and food for the installation effort.

When the decision was made to do the integration/installation in Curacao, SONOCO worked with local officials, suppliers and staffing firms. We provided housing for almost 400 people on the flotel Venture, and also managed a recreation center, a swimming area, and a "nightclub" type game room. We also coordinated and prepared a cookout with a live band every Sunday. Because local guests and workers (and their families) were invited, we often served over 800 people at the weekly cookouts.

We also operated a duty-free store aboard the flotel.


Ursa was towed 1800 miles to the Gulf of Mexico and set on location. The tow took nearly a month and during this time, Ursa was crewed to maximum capacity and operated fully under its own power. With only 1 replenishment planned, and 156 people to feed, we had quite a challenge planning, ordering and storing all the products needed!

Prior to towing, we prepared complete menus for the duration. We planned the replenishment in the Grand Caymans, and of course, we stocked the pantry completely before getting underway.

The tow took place during the holiday season, so we were pleased to be able to serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal to our co-workers.

This project was a singular event. Never before had such a large structure been built for the Gulf of Mexico. Several record lifts were set. Ursa is currently in nearly 4,000 feet of water - another record. And the driller - Helmerich & Payne International - has set several records as well.

SONOCO is proud to have been a part of such a project, and we're equally proud to be on this location today, serving as the caterer for Ursa and her crew.


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