What is FPSO? At its core, an FPSO facilitates the processing and storage of oil and gas at sea. It stands for floating production storage and offloading FPSO. These vessels are used extensively by the offshore industry and have become one of the primary methods of oil and gas processing and storage. As its name suggests, an FPSO is a floating vessel that acts as a mobile offshore production and storage facility. They are typically employed and leased by oil and gas companies.
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What is FPSO? At its core, an FPSO facilitates the processing and storage of oil and gas at sea. It stands for floating production storage and offloading FPSO. These vessels are used extensively by the offshore industry and have become one of the primary methods of oil and gas processing and storage.
As its name suggests, an FPSO is a floating vessel that acts as a mobile offshore production and storage facility. They are typically employed and leased by oil and gas companies. The vessels themselves are equipped with processing equipment for the separation, storage and offloading of oil and gas that comes from sub-sea oil wells or platforms. When oil and gas is processed, it is safely stored in the FPSO until it can be offloaded onto a tanker or a pipeline for transportation ashore.
Before the time of FPSOs, oil and gas extraction was more difficult and inefficient. Companies were only able to extract oil and gas from shallow fields, no more than a water depth of 50 metres.
Oil and gas had to be transported to land via a subsea pipeline, which is economically unviable at water depths more than several hundred metres and in instances where the seabed oil and gas fields are hundreds of miles away from the shore. FSOs were used to store extracted hydrocarbons a mixture of oil, gas and water and transport it from remote locations such as distant seabeds.
There are more than FPSOs today operating around the globe. Production refers to the processing of oil and gas. Hydrocarbons are produced in seabed wells and this is transported to the FPSO via flowlines and risers. Flowlines — Flowlines carry hydrocarbons directly from seabed well. These can be flexible or rigid. Risers — Developed for vertical transportation. This is the section of the line from the seabed to the topside. Storage — Once the oil has been processed, it is transferred to cargo tanks in the double hull of the vessel.
Offloading — Offloading refers to transferring the gathered contents to additional transfer conduits. Crude oil that is stored in the vessel is then transferred to tankers and pipelines heading ashore. Gas is either transported to the shore via pipeline or recycled back into the field to increase production. Traditional tankers can be converted to an FPSO, giving them an additional element of flexibility. In terms of mooring, the FPSO vessels can be anchored to multiple points on the sea floor, which is called spread morning, or via a central weather vane.
With oil prices rising and after almost a two year period of absent orders, the market is finally seeing an uptick. Check out our free FPSO State of the Nation Report In addition to oil and gas processing equipment, FPSOs can be expected to have living quarters to provide accommodation for staff during long periods out at sea, along with control rooms, offices and recreational facilities.
A FPSO oil rig. Coast of Brazil. Spread mooring: Spread mooring is a traditional mooring system, incorporating a number of mooring lines attached to the hull of the vessel. These mooring lines are anchored onto the seabed. This enables FPSOs to position the vessel favourably against the wind so that it remains bow to wind and weather.
A turret mooring system is critical for harsh weather conditions. In essence, the turret enables the FPSO to freely rotate while moored to various locations on the seafloor. Detachable FPSO turret - Many turret systems allow the turret to be disconnected from the vessel, but remain attached to the mooring lines on the seabed.
This is particularly useful in situations such as hurricanes and storms, where the vessel needs to react quickly to external hazards. Once the threat has been mitigated, the FPSO can return to the turret, reattach and continue operations. This mooring system is by far the most flexible. Gas dehydration — Gas is often saturated with water vapour, which poses a threat to facilities. Gas dehydration removes the water that is associated with natural gas.
Gas compression — Natural gas must be treated to conform to commercial standards. Water injection — Water injection is a process where water is introduced into a reservoir to encourage oil production. Gas, water and oil separator — As water, gas and oil have different densities, they can be separated with gas rising to the top, water on the bottom and oil staying in the middle.
Additional debris such as sand will settle at the bottom. Seawater treatment — Sea water treatment involves removing sulfates and other unwanted elements from injection water. Conceptually, FPSOs have given oil and gas companies a lot of freedom and versatility with regards to exploration and extraction. FPSOs have six key advantages. Time — FPSOs can connect to any pipeline. In addition, when an existing oilfield is depleted, an FPSO can move to another location.
This saves time and money and mitigates the need to build expensive permanent pipelines and facilities. As such, FPSOs make an ideal solution for smaller oil and gas fields that will be depleted in a matter of years. FPSOs have the capability to store processed oil and gas and offload it to shuttle tankers for transportation to refineries. The cost of a traditional offshore oil platform can skyrocket when other expenditures are taken into account, such as maintenance, well completion costs and platform decommissioning costs.
Safety — FPSOs can be disconnected from the pipelines and oil wells they are moored to. This makes FPSOs a safer option in areas with severe weather conditions. Convenience — Oil producers can lease the vessels, giving oil and gas companies greater flexibility over their assets ensuring they can react to market forces.
An oil and gas producer can conceivably lease as many or as little FPSOs as they want. This not only saves costs but it bridges the gap between small and large oil and gas organisations, ensuring healthier competition.
More viable fields - Some oil and gas fields lack commercial viability due to weather hazards, the distance to the shore or the cost-inefficiency of building and maintaining traditional infrastructure. FPSOs mitigate this by being insensitive to deep-water and adverse weather. Storage capabilities — FPSOs can store a substantial amount of oil and gas, increasing the commercial viability of hard to reach fields.
Turret Mooring systems
History[ edit ] Oil has been produced from offshore locations since the late s. Originally, all oil platforms sat on the seabed, but as exploration moved to deeper waters and more distant locations in the s, floating production systems came to be used. When a tanker is chosen to transport the oil, it is necessary to accumulate oil in some form of storage tank, such that the oil tanker is not continuously occupied during oil production, and is only needed once sufficient oil has been produced to fill the tanker. FPSOs eliminate the need to lay expensive long-distance pipelines from the processing facility to an onshore terminal.
Guide to FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading)
Turret Mooring systems The turret mooring system consists of a turret assembly that is integrated into a vessel and permanently fixed to the seabed by means of a mooring system. The turret system contains a bearing system that allows the vessel to rotate around the fixed geostatic part of the turret, which is attached to the mooring system. The turret mooring system can also be combined with a fluid transfer system that enables connection of subsea pipelines to the vessel like an F P SO. The fluid transfer system includes risers between the pipeline end manifold PLEM at the seabed and the geostatic part of the turret. In the turret a swivel provides the fluid transfer path between the geostatic part and the free weathervaning vessel that rotates around the turret. The turret system is fully passive and does not require active vessel heading control or active rotation systems in the turret or swivels.
What is an FPSO?