FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) is a processing vessel or barge built to meet especially deepwater need. In the latest exploration in deep water development, the requirement to install floating structure is increasing. Fixed structure is almost impossible to be installed in the deep water region.
FPSO is basically a floating tanker with production and processing unit/modules placed on its topdeck. After receiving hydrocarbon from the subsea well, it processing the hydrocarbon into the final product and store them in its own tanker waiting to be pickup by transport vessel or export them with pipeline to shore.
The main elements of FPSO are:
- Hull, the main part of FPSO, this is where FPSO deposit its hydrocarbon. In some of the world FPSO should be double hull.
- Topdeck, this is where the modules placed and determined product of the FPSO itself.
- Turret, centre of the mooring system of the FPSO and connector production and
control line to subsea facilities. Turret must be designed in such way that it can
hold the worst sea condition of where the FPSO operating. The turret design is
unique that the FPSO can do 360° rotation to do weathervaning.
Compared to fixed structure, FPSO have economic benefit and reversibility in utilizing such facilities. In many cases it has been the only economic means to an offshore oil field as company explore in remote and deep water with existing infrastructure, and smaller marginal fields are developed in mature areas. Secondly, technology in the area of mooring design and subsea production system has reached an advanced stage where increased feasibility, reliability and unit cost reduction have a favorable impact.
Currently FPSO has become major floating structure produce in offshore production. Not only has it served for deep water (above 500m) it also has become main answer for shallower water. The main advantages of FPSO are:
- Short construction and installation schedule especially if second-hand vessel is converted
- Can be constructed in low cost-base shipyards
- Integral between storage, production and offloading
- Relatively insensitive to topside weight
- Can operate under various water depth
- Low abandonment costs
- Safe (ability to disconnect or escape from worst operation condition (eg.cyclone, storm, etc))