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Bachelor of Engineering (HONS) in Petroleum Engineering

Report on production platform analysis :

Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO)

PCE1IPI Introduction to the Petroleum Industry

Submitted by :
Melissa Lee Jia Chie

Mr Matthew Smith

Date of Submission:
30th October 2012


Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

The Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel is a ship-shaped
structure with several different mooring systems used by offshore oil and
gas industry. It is a type of floating tank system designed to produce,
refine and store oil or gas before being exported. The purpose of this
report is to understand how this system function, the situations and
conditions it can be used for and also the advantages and disadvantages
of the system. This report will explain how this type of off shore production
platform works, and also how certain designs of the vessel will affect the
system. This type of off shore production platform has been in use since
the seventies and over the past four decades has seen an increase in the
use of this system. With the many advantages such as cost efficient , it
has become a popular choice of offshore production platform by the oil
and gas industry.


Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)



. iv

Brief History of FPSOs ...
. 2
How Does An FPSO Function
. 3
Turret Mooring System
. 5
Internal Turret Mooring System .
.. 7
External Turret Mooring System .
. 7
Double-hull Arrangements
Advantages and Disadvantages of FPSO
. 11
FPSO Spill Risk

Examples Of FPSOs In Different Countries
FPSO Castellon Delta 1987
.... 14
Girassol FPSO
.. 14

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

Seillean FPSO 1987
.. 14
Conclusion .
.. 15
References .
.. 16


List of Figures
Figure 1(a) An early permanently moored FSO in a side-by-side export
1972 .............................................................................................................
..... 2
Figure 1(b) An early FPSO Castellon, in Spain, 1976
. 2
Figure 1(c) A modern FPSO with an external turret mooring in a tandem
export arrangement
....... 3
Figure 1(d) A modern FPSO with an internal turret mooring in a tandem
export arrangement
....... 3
Figure 2 Features of an FPSO ..
... 4

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

Figure 3 Components of an FPSO ..
.. 5
Figure 4 FPSO Components
.. 6
Figure 5 Submerged turret
Figure 6 An external turret mooring system
... 8
Figure 7 An internal turret mooring system
.... 8
Figure 8 A computer graphic of an example field layout .
Figure 9(a) Sample topsides layout of a ship-shaped offshore unit FPSO
with an accommodation forward and an internal turret
. 10
Figure 9(b) Sample topsides layout of a ship-shaped offshore unit FPSO
with an accommodation aft and an internal turret
. 10
Figure 10(a) Main offloading system at Girassol
........ 14
Figure 10(b) Girassol FPSO has a storage capacity of two million barrels of
crude oil . 14
Figure 11 Seillean FPSO
.. 15



Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

FPSO, which stands for Floating Production Storage and Offloading unit, is
a floating vessel that is able to produce crude oil and gas. An FPSO system
consists of the following major parts:

Vessel (hull)
Topsides (processing system, accommodation, machinery space,
Mooring system
Export system (offloading, shuttle tanker)
Subsea systems and flowlines

This report will explain the various aspects as stated below:


Brief history of the FPSO.

The technology used and engineering of the platform (i.e. how does
it function).
What situations and conditions can it be used for.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the chosen platform.
Examples of FPSOs used in different countries.


Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

Over the past 25 years, ship-shaped offshore unites have proven to be

reasonably reliable, cost-effective solutions for the development of
offshore fields in deep waters worldwide. They made a mark in the oil and
gas industry and are now a very important part of the industry.
Floating production can be traced to 1974, when Hamilton Brothers
converted the semisubmersible drill rig Transworld 58 to a floating
production unit for use on the Argyll field in the North Sea. The unit was
placed in 79 meters water depth and operated for 16 years. The first ship
shape floating production unit is traced to 1977, when Shell converted a
60,000 dwt tanker to an FPSO vessel with 20,000 b/d processing capacity
for use on the Castellon field offshore Spain. It operated in 115 meters
water depth.
But the commercializing and early expansion of floating production
technology can be attributed to Petrobras. The operator saw floating
production as an excellent, relatively low cost solution for producing crude
oil in the deepwater fields of Campos Basin. Petrobras began using
converted rigs as production semisubmersibles in 1977, and within 10
years had 11 floating production units operating offshore Brazil.
FPSOs have been used in offshore production since the 1970s in places
like the North Sea, offshore Brazil, Asia Pacific, the Mediterranean Sea and
West Africa.

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

Fig.1(a) An early
permanently moored FSO
in a side-by-side export
arrangement, 1972

Fig.1(b) An early FPSO

Castellon, in Spain, 1976

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

Fig. 1(c) A modern FPSO

with an external turret
mooring in a tandem
export arrangement

Fig. 1(d) A modern FPSO

with an internal turret
mooring in a tandem
export arrangement


Production :
The P in the FPSO stands for production. Production means evolving the
crude oil obtained from the deeper parts of the ocean. The FPSO is
enabled and fitted with equipments that would act as a refinery of sort to
distil the oil obtained from the ocean along with the gases that are
emitted. This is the main feature of a FPSO as only with the help of this
feature can a FPSO attain the reliability that it enjoys in todays times.

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

Storage :
This is the second most important feature and the S in the acronym
FPSO. Second-most important because just as it is important to filter the
excavated oil from its oceanic reservoirs, it is equally important to store it
well. For this purpose, the FPSO is built in such a way that the tubes and
the pipes and the tanks are perfect for storing the distilled product from
the crude raw-material. They are safe and sturdy so as to resist any
chances of unwanted oil spillage and thus contamination of the marine
Offloading :
This is O in the concept of FPSO. The offloading aspect is important when
the FPSO has to transfer its contents into ships designed as oil carriers or
to pipelines that act as transfer agents. In simple terms, offloading refers
to removing the cargo in a FPSO and transferring it to another cargocarrying vessel or equipment. The offloading part is very tricky as the
process is carried out in the middle of the sea and thus requires a lot of
concentration and focus in order to avoid any sort of spillage.

Fig. 2 Features of an FPSO

FPSOs house both processing equipment and storage for produced
hydrocarbons. The basic design of most FPSOs encompasses a shipshaped vessel, with processing equipment, or topsides, aboard the
vessels deck and hydrocarbon storage below in the double hull. After

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

processing, an FPSO stores oil or gas before offloading periodically to
shuttle tankers or transmitting processed petroleum via pipelines.
Usually tied to multiple subsea wells, FPSOs gather hydrocarbons from
subsea production wells through a series of in-field pipelines. Once tapped
by subsea wells, hydrocarbons are transmitted through flowlines to risers,
which transport the oil and gas from the seafloor to the vessels turret and
then to the FPSO on the waters surface.

Fig. 3 Components of an FPSO

Moored in place by various mooring systems, FPSOs are effective
development solutions for both deepwater and ultra-deepwater fields. A
central mooring system allows the vessel to rotate freely to best respond
to changes in weather conditions, while spread-mooring systems anchor
the vessel from various locations on the seafloor.
There are two types of FPSOs :

A converted oil tanker

A custom built


One type of mooring system is a turret mooring system. It consists of a
geostatic part attached to the seabed and a rotating part integrated in the
hull, which are connected and allow the ship to weathervane around the

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

Fig. 4 FPSO

Fig. 5 Submerged turret

Components of a turret mooring system :

Turret and spider

Turret casing
Anchor arrangement
Product transfer system

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

The turret mooring system consists of a (geo)static part attached to the
seabed and a rotating part integrated within the FPSO hull. The geostatic
part is called turret and the rotating part is the turret casing. The two
parts are connected via a bearing arrangement, which allows rotation
between them, and hence allows the FPSO to freely weathervane around
the turnet.
The FPSO will find a stable position, according to prevailing wind, waves,
and currents, which minimizes the loads on the FPSO. This makes it
possible to use fewer and smaller chains and anchors than with spread
The turret fulfils more functions than weathervaning; it also hangs off the
production or injection risers, supports the (multi pass) fluid swivel and
forms the interface between sub sea facilities and topsides. Next to this all
fluids and information communication systems pass through the turnet.
This includes well fluids, injection water and gas, and the electrical
connections and controls for the sub sea systems.
As all risers pass through the inside of the turret bearing, it is considered
as a limiting factor for the number of risers. It therefore also influences the
possible production rate for a field. With a turret the offloading can be
executed in tandem to the FPSO with shuttle tankers. This provides a more
operational uptime and less risk of tanker collision compared with spreadmoored FPSOs.
Several systems have been developed for a turret connection.

Internal turret mooring system :

It is located in the front end of a vessel. It can sometimes be found
in the middle. The internal turret is supported by a large roller
bearing in a moonpool. This can be found either at the bottom of the
vessel, or at deck level. As the internal turret is appropriate for a
large number of risers, it has good fluid transfer capabilities. Internal
turret mooring systems also allow vessels to remain on location
permanently. This holds even in the most harsh environments. An
advantage of the internal turret in comparison to the external turret
is that mooring forces can be transferred more easily into the hull.

External turret mooring system :

This system is similar to an internal turret mooring. An external
turret is however located outside the ships hull. It comprises a steal
box located at the bow or stern of the vessel, which provides a
foundation for the bearing and turret. The turret is mostly set-up

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

above the waterline, but sometimes also under. The bearing
provides a fixed chain table to which mooring chains and fluid
transfer hoses are attached. Chain legs are anchored to the seabed
either by anchors or piles. A swivel provides a product and utility
connections between the tanker facilities and the seabed.
Because the external turret is located outside the ships hull, it
requires less modification for conversion than an internal turret. As
the effective depth of the mooring system is increased, the storage
capacity of the hull can be maximised. On the other hand an
external location limits the risers to one or a few units. As the
chain table of an external turret mooring system is usually located
above water level (in contrary to internal turrets), the system is
suitable for shallow waters. An external turret mooring can resist
extreme sea conditions, as the vessel can "weathervane" freely over
360 degrees, just like the internal turret. One advantage of the
external turret to internal systems, is that it is less expensive.
The fabrication takes a shorter period of time. Next to this the
compacter turret allows a saving on steel.

Fig.6 An external turret mooring system

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

Fig.7 An internal turret mooring system

The processing equipment aboard the FPSO is similar to what would be
found atop a production platform. Usually built in modules, FPSO
production equipment can consist of water separation, gas treatment, oil
processing, water injection and gas compression, among others.
Hydrocarbons are then transferred to the vessels double-hull for storage.
Crude oil that is stored onboard is frequently transferred to shuttle tankers
or ocean barges going ashore, via a loading hose. Loading oil from the
stern of the FPSO to the bow of the shuttle tanker is known as tandem
loading. While gas is many times transferred to shore via pipeline or reinjected into the field to boost production.

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

Fig.8 A computer graphic of an example field layout

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)



Fig.9 Sample topsides layout of a ship-shaped offshore unit FPSO : (a) with
an accommodation forward and an internal turret; (b) with an
accommodation aft and an internal turret.
Figure 8 shows an example of the overall field layout involving both oil
and gas. Figure 9 shows typical layouts of an FPSO topsides facility. The
accommodation is located in the bow area as shown in Figure 9(a) or in
the stern area as shown in Figure 9(b). The vessel layout is designed so
that the separation between the accommodation (including the principal
evacuation systems) and the major hydrocarbon hazards should be
maximized. The accommodation and the turret are separated as far away
as possible when a turret-mooring system is adopted with risers and
mooring facilities located at the bow; refer to Figure 9(b).
This configuration is beneficial also because turret motions can be
minimized while weathervaning capacity can be maximized. Also, when
the accommodation with a helideck is located at the stern in a conversion,
the proximity so achieved, to the engine room that contains many of the
major vessel systems including utility systems, can be an advantage.

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

As shown in Figure 9(b), a turret is often located as far forward as possible,
although the accommodation with the helideck must usually be sited aft,
with the process modules and power generation in the cargo length and
flare tower in the forward area. By placing the turret location as far
forward as possible, it makes active heading control by thrusters easier.
The topsides facilities are located above the main deck in between the
turret and the accommodation. The main deck needs to be strong enough
for the support columns of topsides modules and also have space for the
required piping for cargo loading/offloading, inerting and venting, and
hatches for access to the tanks. It will also contain the main cranes,
perhaps two, one on the port side and one on the starboard side.
The topsides may be divided into the process area and the utility area.
The process area includes spaces for hydrocarbon-containing equipment,
flare tower, compression equipment, and separation equipment. The
utility area includes spaces for utility equipment and power-generation

An aspect that needs to be considered for design and operation of an
FPSO is the protection of cargo tanks from damage caused by collisions
with shuttle tankers, particularly when a side-by-side configuration is to be
used for exporting cargo. A new-build FPSO hull usually has double sides,
but the bottom is not necessarily double-skinned.
Double bottoms are generally not required because damage from hull
grounding is unlikely. However, if the FPSO is a disconnectable type and
may need to leave the station from time to time under its own power, a
double bottom may be required by regulation. Also, if the FPSO is located
in a very shallow location with some chance of contact with the sea
bottom, a double bottom may be necessary.

FPSOs are the most common type of floating production system. They
represent 61 percent of the production units now in operation and 70

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

percent of the production units on order. They are located in all major
offshore areas, except the Gulf of Mexico.

Advantages :
1) Can be built in a shorter time => quicker profits
The average semi-submersible oil rig takes 3-4 years to build, and a
jack-up rig 2-3 years. From laying the keel in dry dock to first launch,
an FPSO could be rolled out in months to a year, or even less if an
existing vessel is simply being modified into an FPSO.
2) FPSOs do not have to be custom built
Unlike their fixed platform and semi-submersible counterparts, an
FPSO does not have to start its life as an FPSO. The first ever FPSO,
BPs Castellon, was an oil tanker in a former life, and many of its
descendants are also vessels that have been converted from
transporters to harvesters of hydrocarbons. Recycling assets in
this way saves a lot of costs.
3) FPSOs can evade harsh weather
FPSOs are mobile units and hence are able to navigate away from
potentially perilous weather conditions. Permanent installations
would be vulnerable in the hurricane-riddled Gulf of Mexico, cyclonic
activity zones like the South China Sea and iceberg-infested waters
around the Arctic circle, whereas FPSOs are able to relocate and
elude these dangers.
4) FPSOs can move from field to field
FPSOs were conceived as the perfect solution to develop marginal
fields and so find themselves ideally disposed to a world with
rapidly exhausting conventional reserves. Once the source of
hydrocarbons has plateaued in a specific site, an FPSO unit can
then move on to its next target. In this way, owner/operators are
dispensing with the need to build and maintain costly platforms in
economically dubious situations, whilst retaining value with the
employment of a reusable unit.
5) Abandonment costs are less than for fixed platforms.
When a well becomes economically unviable due to underproduction or depletion, the removal of equipment, capping of the
well and any environmental clean up, that has to be enacted before

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

the well can be abandoned, could reach into the hundreds of
millions of dollars. An FPSO considerably minimizes this expenditure
as little permanent infrastructure has to be considered.

6) FPSOs are ideal for deep water drilling
With operators having to drill deeper than ever before to hit the
black gold, deep and ultra-deep water plays like the Santos Basin,
the US Gulf Lower Tertiary and the Arctic region are becoming more
plausible choices for an oil-thirsty world. In areas such as these,
where subsurface pipelines would be logistically challenging and
export by shuttle tankers is increasingly expensive, an FPSO is the
best choice as a tailored upstream and midstream unit rolled into
7) FPSOs eliminate the need for costly and expansive underwater
In a situation where laying pipelines is not a cost-effective solution,
the FPSO is particularly well-adapted. FPSOs tap in to existing well
centres with its retractable risers, negating the need for extensive
undersea hydrocarbon transportation.
8) FPSOs are more environmentally friendly than rigs
While many rigs have been in operation for several decades and
have a permanent ecological footprint, an FPSO can be designed
and redesigned for more environmentally friendly field operations.

Disadvantages :
1) The subsea tiebacks associated with FPSOs generally bring higher
well maintenance costs.
2) Internal turret requires dry-docking and are more expensive than
external turret designs and it takes a longer period of time to be
3) FPSOs are sensitive to motions.
4) High turret/fluid swivel costs.
5) High maintenance costs.


Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

The highest crude oil spill risks in FPSO vessel operations in deepwater
come from the transport function, not the production function. Excluding
conventional offloading and shuttle tanker spills, FPSO-unique spill risks
comprise only 5 percent of the total risk. The remaining 95 percent of oil
spills are not FPSO related and are equally likely to occur with a tension
leg platform or other types of platform.

Risk analysis shows that only 1.8 percent of crude oil volumes lost during
all phases of FPSO operations would take place during the transfer of oil
from the vessel to the shuttle tanker.

1) FPSO Castellon
Delta 1977 COUNTRIES

The first FPSO in the world

Shell operated conversion 65km offshore Tarragona, Spain

2) Girassol FPSO
- Worlds largest FPSO vessel
- Constructed in Korea and has been constructed as a joint venture
between Bouygues Offshore and Stolt Offshore within a period of 21
- The vessel has a production capacity of 200,000 barrels per day and
a storage capacity of 2,000,000 barrel storage capacity

Fig. 10 (a) Main offloading

system at Girassol

Fig. 10 (b) Girassol FPSO

has a storage capacity of
two million barrels of crude

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)

3) Seillean FPSO 1987
- Worlds only dynamically positioned, self-propelled deepwater FPSO
that extracts oil via a rigid riser system
- This allows Seillean to mobilize to deepwater locations and quickly
connect to subsea wells and commence production without the
assistance of offshore support vessels
- Operated by Petrobras since late 1988
- Storage capacity : 310,000 barrels
- Production capacity : 3,000 25,000 barrels per day

Fig. 11 Seillean FPSO

The trend of offshore oil and gas development has been shifting from
fields in shallow and medium waters to fields in deeper waters. Shipshaped offshore units such as FPSOs have been recognized as one of the
most reliable, economical solutions to develop offshore oil and gas
reserves in deep water areas.
Although FPSOs have been in existence since the late 1970s, their
complexity and size have been gradually increasing, and there are still a
number of problem areas related to designing, building, and operating
these units that must be resolved for achieving the high integrity in terms
of safety, health, the environment, and economics/financial expenditures.

Floating Production Storage And Offloading (PFSO)


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