Saturday, March 19, 2011

BOEMRE Approves First FPSO Use in Gulf of Mexico

by Nick Snow, OGJ, Mar 17, 2011
The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement [the former Minerals Management Service] approved Petrobras America Inc.’s application to use a floating production, storage, and offloading vessel to produce oil and gas from its Cascade-Chinook project in the Gulf of Mexico. This will be the first time that FPSO technology has been used in the [U.S.] gulf, the US Department of the Interior agency said on Mar. 17.

The BW Pioneer FPSO [please see image below -- D.R.] will receive production through dual flow lines, which connect it to two free-standing hybrid risers for each field, also a new technology for the gulf, Petrobras America said.

BOEMRE said it approved the project’s production safety system permit and supplemental deepwater operating plan following extensive consultations with the producer.

The FPSO will have a production capacity of 80,000 b/d of oil and 16 MMcfd of natural gas, with production expected to begin soon, it indicated.

The project is in the gulf’s Walker Ridge area in 8,200 ft of water [2,500 meters] about 165 miles [266 kilometers] off Louisiana. [Full story]

                                                  Source: Petrobras via MARINE here

(Also, the FPSO has an oil storage capacity of 500,000 barrels. Natural gas processed by the BW Pioneer will be transported to shore by pipeline, while crude oil will be offloaded to shuttle tankers for transportation. In the event of a hurricane or tropical storm, the facility is designed to disconnect from the turret-buoy and move off location until the storm has passed. FPSOs are widely used in offshore Brazil and West Africa---e.g., please see its use in Ghana, here. The FPSO vessel to be used in the project is owned and operated by Oslo-based BW Offshore. The company already operates another FPSO ship in the Mexican side of the Gulf, among many others around the globe. -- D.R.)

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