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Can metallurgical testing be trusted?

San Ramon, CA -- Chevron Corporation has announced its $3.5 billion Tahiti project in the Gulf of Mexico will face ...


San Ramon, CA — Chevron Corporation has announced its $3.5 billion Tahiti project in the Gulf of Mexico will face delays because of metallurgical problems discovered in the facility’s mooring shackles.

Initial quality control testing of the existing shackles did not identify a problem. Additional testing was ordered after Chevron’s contractor discovered a metallurgical problem with shackles on a similar installation for another company. Metallurgical problems were subsequently discovered in the Tahiti shackles as well.

To ensure the facility’s safety and reliability, Chevron has begun the process to order new shackles and plan their installation. Steel shackles are used to connect various components of a mooring line together. Mooring lines connect the spar to anchors (pilings) on the sea floor. The shackles are not part of the spar hull, so this issue does not impact the spar’s integrity.

Tahiti is an energy project located in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, about 225 km offshore and 300 km south of New Orleans. It was scheduled for completion in mid-2008. Major components of the project are nearing completion and work on their installation is expected to continue once timing for new shackles is determined.