Floating production storage and offloading

FPSO Mystras at work off the shore of Nigeria
FPSO Crystal Ocean moored at the Port of Melbourne
The circular FPSO Sevan Voyageur moored at Nymo yard at Eydehavn, Norway

A floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit is a floating vessel used by the offshore oil and gas industry for the production and processing of hydrocarbons, and for the storage of oil. A FPSO vessel is designed to receive hydrocarbons produced by itself or from nearby platforms or subsea template, process them, and store oil until it can be offloaded onto a tanker or, less frequently, transported through a pipeline. FPSOs are preferred in frontier offshore regions as they are easy to install, and do not require a local pipeline infrastructure to export oil. FPSOs can be a conversion of an oil tanker or can be a vessel built specially for the application. A vessel used only to store oil (without processing it) is referred to as a floating storage and offloading (FSO) vessel.

Recent developments in LNG industry require relocation of conventional LNG processing trains into the sea to unlock remote, smaller gas fields that would not be economical to develop otherwise, reduce capital expenses, and impact to environment. [1] Emerging new type of FLNG facilities will be used. Unlike FPSO's apart of gas production, storage and offloading, they will also allow full scale deep processing, same as onshore LNG plant has to offer but squeezed to 25% of its footprint. [2] First 3 FLNG's are under construction (as at 2016): Prelude FLNG (Shell), PFLNG1 and PFLNG2 ( Petronas).

History

Oil has been produced from offshore locations since the late 1940s. Originally, all oil platforms sat on the seabed, but as exploration moved to deeper waters and more distant locations in the 1970s, floating production systems came to be used.

The first oil FPSO was the Shell Castellon, built in Spain in 1977. Today, over 270 vessels are deployed worldwide as oil FPSOs.

On July 29, 2009, Shell and Samsung announced an agreement to build up to 10 LNG FPSOs, [3] at same Samsung Yard Flex LNG appeared to construct smaller units. [4]

On May 20, 2011, Royal Dutch Shell announced the planned development of a floating liquefied natural gas facility (FLNG), called Prelude with 488 m long and 74 m wide, which is to be situated 200 km off the coast of Western Australia and is due for completion in around 2016, the largest vessel man-made ever. [5] Royal Dutch Shell (2013), LNG FPSO (Liquefied Natural Gas Floating production Storage and Offloading), Samsung Heavy Industries at a cost of $12 Billion. [6]

In June 2012, Petronas made a contract of procurement engineering, construction, installation and commissioning, a project with the Technip and DSME consortium. [7] The unit is destined for the Kanowit gas field off Sarawak, Malaysia. It is expected to be the World's First Floating Liquefaction Unit in operation when completed in 2015. [8]

At the opposite (discharge and regasification) end of the LNG chain, the first ever conversion of an LNG carrier, Golar LNG owned Moss type LNG carrier into an LNG floating storage and regasification unit was carried out in 2007 by Keppel shipyard in Singapore. [9]

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