Floating Production Systems
Construction and conversion of FPSO vessels and other floating production systems is one of the most dynamic market sectors available to shipbuilders and ship conversion yards. IMA has just completed an in-depth analysis of this business sector, and the findings indicate a market which should be of interest to virtually all shipbuilders and most equipment suppliers.
Growing Role Of Floating Production Floating systems can be economically utilized in fields to 2,000 meters water depth, or be deployed in marginal fields with reserves of 30 million barrels (or less). They offer the advantage of minimizing time to first oil and reducing cost of field abandonment. It is not surby James R. McCaul, president, IMA Associates, Inc. prising that demand for new floaters is burgeoning and floating production technology is one of the hottest topics in the offshore industry. $10 - $16 Billion Construction And Conversion Market About 60 floating production systems are operating worldwide in offshore oil fields. Another 27 are currently on order, representing a contract value of $7.2 billion. More important, 90 new floating production projects are at various stages of development, and acquisition of additional floaters for these projects will generate capital expenditures of $10 to 16 billion. Rapidly Evolving Technology Floating offshore production is a rapidly evolving industry. Many changes in technology and operations have recently taken place, and many more are in the conceptual design or engineering phase.
Some of the more promising developments on the horizon are: • high capacity, pipeline capable FPSO vessels • multi-purpose shuttle/production tankers • fifth generation drill/production rigs • gas conversion or liquefaction barges • conversion of Hotels to production semisubmersibles • more economical tension leg platform designs • mini tension leg platforms • unmanned wellhead TLPs • triangular TLPs • tension raft jackets • improved capability of subsea boosting systems.
Companies Active In Floating System Construction This market sector has attracted a variety of builders, system suppliers, design firms and installation contractors. While FPSO construction is a small market relative to the 150 to 175 tankers built annually, the sector has attracted considerable attention among world shipbuilders.
Eighteen builders have been actively involved in recent fabrication contracts for FPSO vessels.
Among them are: • AESA Astano: This northern Spanish shipbuilder has been one of the more active players in FPSO construction. Astano is currently performing the major conversion of the Petrojarl Foinaven and is building the FPSO vessel for the Captain field. In 1993, Astano delivered Gyphon A.
• AESA Cadiz: The southern Spanish shipyard has been another major player in FPSO work.
The yard is currently converting Cairu for use as an FPSO vessel in Brazil's Marlim field. Cadiz also converted the Uisge Gorm to an FPSO vessel for the Fife field. • FELS: A long-time major player in rig construction, this Singaporean yard has established a very active presence in floating production fabrication. The yard is currently finishing the SPU 380, an FPSO vessel speculatively ordered by Smedvig that has been sold to Esso Norge for use in the Balder field. FELS is also building two FPSO vessels for Statoil and Saga, one for the Nome field, the other for the Varg field.
While there is some overlap with ship shape builders, a different set of players is generally involved in fabricating semi-submersible, TLP, spar and barge production systems. For example, some of the players are: • Aker: The Norwegian company fabricated topsides for the Snorre TLP, constructed the concrete hull for the Heidrun TLP and is currently building the production semi-submersible hull for the Njord field.
• Fincantieri: The production semisubmersible, Spirit of Columbus, has been built by this Italian yard. The unit has not yet found employment.
• Kvaerner: This Norwegian company built the Troll Olje production semi-submersible hull.
Kvaerner has been actively promoting designs for a production ship and a variety of floating semisubmersibles, TLPs and production spars constructed of concrete. The turret mooring system in an FPSO is a major component of total capital expenditure. There are a number of companies active in supplying this equipment, including: • Single Buoy Moorings (SBM): This Swiss company has delivered more than three dozen mooring systems for FPSOs or FSOs. It is currently contracted to supply the turret mooring for the Guillemot/ Teal FPSO and is working with Saipem on the conversion of Agip Firenze. SBM is a subsidiary of the Dutch parent company IHC Caland.
• IMODCO: This U.S. company pioneered development of the single point mooring system, having delivered more than 120 CALM terminals since 1958. More than 20 mooring systems have been supplied for FPSOs/FSOs and the company is now supplying SPT turrets for the Tantawan FPSO and Maxus Intan FSO. IMODCO has been a subsidiary of IHC Caland since 1990.
• SOFEC: The U.S.-based company is supplying the internal turret system for the upgraded PP Moreas, the internal turret for the Liuhua FPSO and external turrets May, 1996 for both the Escravos barge and Maui B FPSO vessel. SOFEC is a subsidiary of FMC Corporation. • Frank Mohn/Statoil: Working with Statoil, the Norwegian pump and offshore equipment manufacturer Frank Mohn has developed a submerged turret loading system that has been installed on eight shuttle tankers to date. The concept is being promoted for use in multi-purpose shuttle/production tankers.
IMA believes that this is a market which should be examined by many companies for new business opportunities. It is a rapidly growing market sector, and the vessels have a large electrical requirement, utilize sophisticated mooring devices, incorporate an extensive cargo pumping system, require elaborate control systems and frequently need dynamic positioning capability.