Floating production system numbers continue to grow

Guntis Moritis
OGJ Production Editor

HOUSTON, Nov. 18 -- The number of floating production systems continues to increase, according to International Maritime Associates Inc.'s latest floating production report.

IMA now tracks 196 offshore projects at various stages of design or planning that potentially will require a floating production or storage system.

Regarding the current fleet, IMA found that in service worldwide are 250 floating production units. This compares with 117 units in service 5 years ago, and 119 units in service 10 years ago.

The 250 floating production units include 155 floating production, storage, and offloading vessels, 42 production semisubmersibles, 22 tension-leg platforms, 18 production spars, 8 production barges, and 5 floating storage and regasification units.

IMA noted that the current order backlog consists of 49 production floaters, which includes 35 FPSOs, 6 production semis, 1 TLP, 3 FSRUs, and 4 floating LNG (FLNG) vessels.

Brazil continues to dominate orders for production floaters. IMA said that of the 49 production floaters on order, 19 are for use off Brazil. It also noted that 7 units are on speculative orders and do not have a field destination at this time. The 7 include 4 FLNGs, 1 FPSO, and 2 FPSOs where work has been slowed, according to IMA.

Regarding available units, IMA said 11 floaters are not on a field and are looking for work as of mid-November. It noted that not all of these units will likely find new work and some are candidates for scrapping but at least a half dozen FPSOs appear capable of being modified and competitively redeployed.

Of the units in the field, IMA said that many FPSOs are reaching the end of the field life with 3 having been stationed on a field more than 20 years, 8 for more than 15 years, and 27 for more than 10 years. IMA expects that at least half of these units are redeployment candidates, particularly 15 that have operated in the North Sea for more than 10 years and 2 that have operated off Australia for more than 10 years.

In the US Gulf of Mexico, according to Jim McCaul, head of IMA, developments have not stood still because of the moratorium on drilling. He noted that during the moratorium several major deepwater projects in the gulf have moved to the development stage. These include a contract for a production semi on Tubular Bells and contracts for production floaters on three projects (Olympus TLP, Jack-St. Malo production semi, and Bigfoot TLP) that moved to the contract-imminent stage, McCaul said.

Contact Guntis Moritis at guntism@ogjonline.com.

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