Executives from many of the country's leading shipyards and supply organizations gathered in Washington, D.C. in January to discuss challenges facing the repair and conversion industry.
While sentiments regarding near-term prospects in the ship repair and conversion market are hardly bullish, several of the speakers discussed the opportunities that would be created if and when Floating Production, Storage, and Offloading Systems
(FPSO) are allowed to operate in the Gulf of Mexico
Currently, FPSOs are not allowed to be used in the GOM. But as offshore exploration and production continues to move farther offshore and into deeper waters, the use of these innovative production platforms seems a natural "next step," one which would be embraced by U.S. repair and conversion yards.
The FPSO topic was a large part of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) agenda at its meeting in mid-November, and MMS support is necessary to proceed, as Congress gave MMS responsibility for oversight of the deepwater research at the Offshore Technology Research Center. The MMS has increasingly seen its role expanded into global issues, following the trend of globalization in the offshore segment, and as a result is now studying the results of FPSO use in other countries.