Forecast sees ramp up in floating production system orders

May 1, 2006
A recent report predicts a ramp up in floating production system orders during the next 5 years.

A recent report predicts a ramp up in floating production system orders during the next 5 years. The March 2006 report from the International Maritime Associates Inc. (IMA), Washington, DC, forecasts the number of units and the capital expenditures needed through 2010.

The report includes floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessels; tension leg platforms (TLPs); semisubmersible production units; production spars; and floating storage and offloading (FSO) vessels.

Current fleet

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Currently 179 floating production systems operate worldwide, the report said. It found that this number has increased 203% during the past 10 years (Fig. 1). The current fleet consists of 61% FPSOs, 21% production semis, 10% TLPs, and 8% spars. Also, 82 floating storage vessels (without production capability) are in operation, 4 of which store LPG.

The report notes that in the next 5 years many fields will reach their end and the production units will become available for reuse. Of the 109 FPSOs in service, 55 have been on a field for more than 5 years; and of the 52 leased units, 30 have firm contracts with an end date by 2010, the report found.

It says the industry has redeployed FPSOs or production semis to start up about 50 fields during the past 30 years, accounting for about 18% of field start-ups during this period. The report estimated that redeployments will satisfy 25-30% of new floater developments during the next 5 years.

New orders

The floating production system order backlog is the highest since IMA started tracking orders in 1996, the report says. It found 46 floating production units now on order, consisting of 32 FPSOs, 3 TLPs, 6 production semis, 2 production spars, and 3 production barges. Also the industry is building or converting 7 floating storage units and 3 jack-up mobile offshore production units (MOPUs).

The report says more than 30 facilities worldwide are involved in fabricating floating production units, the greatest number in the past 10 years.

It identified 97 projects currently in the bidding, design or planning stage that potentially require floating production or storage systems. These projects are primarily off West Africa, Brazil, Southeast Asia, China, Northern Europe, and in the Gulf of Mexico. It expects these projects to move to development during the next 2-3 years, and if all materialize, they would require 91 production floaters and at least 8 floating storage units.

The report identifies orders for 103-130 production floaters during the next 5 years. This includes 75-95 units that are purpose-built or converted from existing hulls and 28-35 redeployed existing units.

It expects these orders to require $35-44 billion of capital expenditures during the next 5 years. Also orders for 25-35 FSOs will need another $1.5 billion in conversion and construction capital expenditures, the report says.