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Deep water will remain the most significant activity in the oil industry

Press release   •   May 21, 2012 13:32 +08

Bryan Camoens: Could you please outline the current position of FPSO’s in today’s field development strategy?

Jerry Joynson: The major discoveries are taking place in deep water and look to continue to do so in the foreseeable future, and hence FPSO’s will clearly be central to developing these deep water fields. The use of steel catenary risers connected to FPSOs, as demonstrated on the turret moored Espirito Santo in 2008, will extend their range beyond the current flexible riser limit of around 2,000m. Extraction of the massive arctic oil and gas reserves will require means to cope with the winter ice shelf, and disconnectable FPSOs will prove to be invaluable in this respect. The enormous flexibility of the FPSO will ensure its leading position in regions where there is no offshore oil export pipeline infrastructure.

Bryan Camoens: What are some of the challenges faced from evaluation to the final phase of construction?

Jerry Joynson: The challenges in achieving successful FPSO delivery are manifold, and are often client or regional specific. Local content requirements can be challenging to comply with, such as the 65% Brazilian content recently achieved on P57; bidding rules and a need for competitive tendering can hamper clients’ ability to carry out effective development in collaboration with FPSO suppliers; and resources will become tighter including the demand for experienced personnel as we pull out of the global recession.

Bryan Camoens: Could you please outline some of the developments for a more balanced contracting regime in terms of project risk, responsibilities and cost?

Jerry Joynson: Lease based projects can help reduce risks for clients, as the consequences of the detailed design decisions made in execution remain with the FPSO lease operator. Performance and incentive based contracts work well with lease contracts, and leases can also work to deliver lower life cycle costs.

Bryan Camoens: What are some of the technical specifications you must take into account when choosing FPSO technology to maximizing field productivity?

Jerry Joynson: Maximizing field productivity requires high availability of facilities, and enhanced recovery technologies including gas lift and water injection, which are now commonplace on FPSO’s. Sea bed pumping and ESP’s will also be applied and Shells Brazilian FPSO, Espirito Santo, leased from SBM, which is producing from a heavy oil field, has demonstrated the effective installation of seabed pumping powered from the FPSO via the turret mooring. SBM is now designing for Shell a work-over system for those pumps which is FPSO based.

High availability is strongly linked to robust design. Despite the absolute need for technical innovations it is demonstrably critical not to change too much from one FPSO to the next, building in past execution and fleet operating experience to ensure highest availability. Even where maximum productivity is not necessarily critical, project success is built on taking many incremental steps project by project, with a large core of staff experienced in the execution FPSO projects. 

Bryan Camoens: By 2020, what advances in new build fpso hull and marine systems will we see in the FPSO sector?

Jerry Joynson: Clearly the large demand for FPSO’s, many of which are required to be as large as possible in Brazil given the enormous scale of developments there, will require both new builds and conversions. Inevitably a fairly standardised new build FPSO hull will emerge triggered by the likes of the 8 FPSO hull order in Brazil, and shipyards focussed in this area could be expected to apply bulk carrier design and build philosophies to drive costs more in the direction of bulk crude carriers.

Jerry will be highlighting the strategies behind successful FPSO redeployment speaking at the 13th Annual FPSO Congress. Email  to register or for the complete list of speakers and topics that will be discussed at the 13th Annual FPSO Congress.

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