A Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) unit is a floating vessel used by the offshore oil and gas industry for the production and processing of hydrocarbons, and for the storage of oil. A FPSO vessel is designed to receive hydrocarbons produced by itself or from nearby platforms or subsea template, process them, and store oil until it can be offloaded onto a tanker or, less frequently, transported through a pipeline. FPSOs are preferred in frontier offshore regions as they are easy to install, and do not require a local pipeline infrastructure to export oil. FPSOs can be a conversion of an oil tanker or can be a vessel built specially for the application. A vessel used only to store oil (without processing it) is referred to as a Floating Storage and Offloading vessel (FSO).
Recent developments in LNG industry require relocation of conventional LNG processing trains into the sea to unlock remote, smaller gas fields that would not be economical to develop otherwise, reduce capital expenses, and impact to environment.[1] Emerging new type of FLNG facilities will be used. Unlike FPSO’s apart of gas production, storage and offloading, they will also allow full scale deep processing, same as onshore LNG plant has to offer . First 3 FLNG’s are under construction : Prelude FLNG (Shell), PFLNG1 and PFLNG2 (Petronas).
Oil has been produced from offshore locations since the late 1940s. Originally, all oil platforms sat on the seabed, but as exploration moved to deeper waters and more distant locations in the 1970s, floating production systems came to be used.
The first oil FPSO was the Shell Castellon, built in Spain in 1977. Today, over 270 vessels are deployed worldwide as oil FPSOs.
On July 29, 2009, Shell and Samsung announced an agreement to build up to 10 LNG FPSOs, at same Samsung Yard Flex LNG appeared to construct smaller units.
On May 20, 2011, Royal Dutch Shell announced the planned development of a floating liquefied natural gas facility (FLNG), called Prelude with 488 m long and 74 m wide, which is to be situated 200 km off the coast of Western Australia and is due for completion in around 2016, the largest vessel man-made ever.[5] Royal Dutch Shell (2013), LNG FPSO (Liquefied Natural Gas Floating production Storage and Offloading), Samsung Heavy Industries at a cost of $12 Billion.
In June 2012, Petronas made a contract of procurement engineering, construction, installation and commissioning, a project with the Technip and DSME consortium. The unit is destined for the Kanowit gas field off Sarawak, Malaysia. It is expected to be the World’s First Floating Liquefaction Unit in operation when completed in 2015.
At the opposite (discharge and regasification) end of the LNG chain, the first ever conversion of an LNG carrier, Golar LNG owned Moss type LNG carrier into an LNG floating storage and regasification unit was carried out in 2007 by Keppel shipyard in Singapore.
Mechanisms of FPSO
FPSO diagram
Oil produced from offshore production platforms can be transported to the mainland either by pipeline or by tanker. When a tanker is chosen to transport the oil, it is necessary to accumulate oil in some form of storage tank, such that the oil tanker is not continuously occupied during oil production, and is only needed once sufficient oil has been produced to fill the tanker.
Advantages of FPSO
Floating production, storage and offloading vessels are particularly effective in remote or deep water locations, where seabed pipelines are not cost effective. FPSOs eliminate the need to lay expensive long-distance pipelines from the processing facility to an onshore terminal. This can provide an economically attractive solution for smaller oil fields, which can be exhausted in a few years and do not justify the expense of installing a pipeline. Furthermore, once the field is depleted, the FPSO can be moved to a new location.
Types of FPSO FSO
A Floating Storage and Offloading unit (FSO) is essentially a simplified FPSO, without the capability for oil or gas processing. Most FSOs are converted single hull supertankers. An example is Knock Nevis, ex Seawise Giant, which for many years was the world’s largest ship. It has been converted to an FSO for use offshore. The vessel was sold to Indian ship breakers and renamed Mont for her final journey in December 2009. After clearing Indian customs, she was sailed to, and intentionally beached at Alang, Gujarat, India for demolition.
At the other end of the LNG logistics chain, where the natural gas is brought back to ambient temperature and pressure, specially modified ships may also be used as floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs). A LNG floating storage and regasification unit receives liquefied natural gas (LNG) from offloading LNG carriers, and the on board regasification system provides natural gas exported to shore through risers and pipelines.
1. FSO, Floating Storage and Offloading
2. FPSO, Floating Production, Storage and Offloading
3. FDPSO, Floating, Drilling and Production, Storage and Offloading
4. FSRU, Floating Storage Regasification Unit.
FPSO Firenze moored at Hellenic Shipyards, 2007
In addition to the historical records already mentioned, a few more are added in this section.
The FPSO operating in the deepest waters is the FPSO BW Pioneer, built and operated by BW Offshore on behalf of Petrobras Americas INC. The FPSO is moored at a depth of 2,600 m in Block 249 Walker Ridge in the US Gulf of Mexico and is rated for 80,000 bbl/d (13,000 m3/d). The EPCI contract was awarded in October 2007 and production started in early 2012. The FPSO conversion was carried out at Keppel Shipyard Tuas in Singapore, while the topsides were fabricated in modules at various international vendor locations. The FPSO has a disconnectable turret (APL). The vessel can disconnect in advance of hurricanes and reconnect with minimal down time.[11] A contract for an FPSO to operate in even deeper waters (2,900 m) for Shell’s Stones field in the US Gulf of Mexico was awarded to SBM Offshore in July 2013.
One of the world’s largest FPSO is the Kizomba A, with a storage capacity of 2.2 million barrels (350,000 m3). Built at a cost of over US$ 800 million by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, Korea, it is operated by Esso Exploration Angola (ExxonMobil). Located in 1200 meters (3,940 ft) of water at Deep water block 200 statute miles (320 km) offshore in the Atlantic Ocean from Angola, Central Africa, it weighs 81,000 tonnes and is 285 meters long, 63 meters wide, and 32 meters high (935 ft by 207 ft (63 m) by 105 ft).
The first FSO in the Gulf of Mexico, The FSO Ta’Kuntah, has been in operation since August 1998. The FSO, owned and operated by MODEC, is under a service agreement with PEMEX Exploration and Production. The vessel was installed as part of the Cantarell Field Development. The field is located in the Bay of Campeche, offshore Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula. It is a converted ULCC tanker with a SOFEC external turret mooring system, two flexible risers connected in a lazy-S configuration between the turret and a pipeline end manifold (PLEM) on the seabed, and a unique offloading system. The FSO is designed to handle 800,000 bbl/d (130,000 m3/d) with no allowance for downtime.
The Skarv FPSO, developed and engineered by Aker Solutions for BP Norge, is one of the most advanced and largest FPSO deployed in the Norwegian Sea, offshore Mid Norway. Skarv is a gas condensate and oil field development. The development ties in five sub-sea templates, and the FPSO has capacity to include several smaller wells nearby in the future. The process plant on the vessel can handle about 19,000,000 cubic metres per day (670,000,000 cu ft/d) of gas and 13,500 cubic metres per day (480,000 cu ft/d) of oil. An 80 km gas export pipe ties in to Åsgard transport system. Aker Solutions (formerly Aker Kvaerner) developed the front-end design for the floating production facility as well as the overall system design for the field and preparation for procurement and project management of the total field development. The hull is an Aker Solutions proprietary “Tentechtm975” design.[17] BP also selected Aker Solutions to perform the detail engineering, procurement and construction management assistance (EPcma) for the Skarv field development. The EPcma contract covers detail engineering and procurement work for the FPSO topsides as well as construction management assistance to BP including hull and topside facilities. The production started in field on August 2011.[18] BP awarded the contract for fabrication of the Skarv FPSO hull to Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea and the Turret contract to SBM. The FPSO has a length of 292 m, beam of 50.6 m and is 29 m deep, accommodates about 100 people in single cabins. The hull is delivered in January 2010.

A Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) unit is a floating vessel used by the offshore oil and gas industry for the production and processing of hydrocarbons, and for the storage of oil. A FPSO vessel is designed to receive hydrocarbons produced by itself or from nearby platforms or subsea template, process them, and store oil until it can be offloaded onto a tanker or, less frequently, transported through a pipeline. FPSOs are preferred in frontier offshore regions as they are easy to install, and do not require a local pipeline infrastructure to export oil. FPSOs can be a conversion of an oil tanker or can be a vessel built specially for the application. A vessel used only to store oil (without processing it) is referred to as a Floating Storage and Offloading vessel (FSO).

On May 20, 2011, Royal Dutch Shell announced the planned development of a floating liquefied natural gas facility (FLNG), called Prelude with 488 m long and 74 m wide, which is to be situated 200 km off the coast of Western Australia and is due for completion in around 2016, the largest vessel man-made ever. Royal Dutch Shell (2013), LNG FPSO (Liquefied Natural Gas Floating production Storage and Offloading), Samsung Heavy Industries at a cost of $12 Billion.
In June 2012, Petronas made a contract of procurement engineering, construction, installation and commissioning, a project with the Technip and DSME consortium.  The unit is destined for the Kanowit gas field off Sarawak, Malaysia. It is expected to be the World’s First Floating Liquefaction Unit in operation when completed in 2015.
At the opposite (discharge and regasification) end of the LNG chain, the first ever conversion of an LNG carrier, Golar LNG owned Moss type LNG carrier into an LNG floating storage and regasification unit was carried out in 2007 by Keppel shipyard in Singapore.
FPSO Firenze moored at Hellenic Shipyards, 2007In addition to the historical records already mentioned, a few more are added in this section.
The FPSO operating in the deepest waters is the FPSO BW Pioneer, built and operated by BW Offshore on behalf of Petrobras Americas INC. The FPSO is moored at a depth of 2,600 m in Block 249 Walker Ridge in the US Gulf of Mexico and is rated for 80,000 bbl/d (13,000 m3/d). The EPCI contract was awarded in October 2007 and production started in early 2012. The FPSO conversion was carried out at Keppel Shipyard Tuas in Singapore, while the topsides were fabricated in modules at various international vendor locations. The FPSO has a disconnectable turret (APL). The vessel can disconnect in advance of hurricanes and reconnect with minimal down time. A contract for an FPSO to operate in even deeper waters (2,900 m) for Shell’s Stones field in the US Gulf of Mexico was awarded to SBM Offshore in July 2013.
One of the world’s largest FPSO is the Kizomba A, with a storage capacity of 2.2 million barrels (350,000 m3). Built at a cost of over US$ 800 million by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, Korea, it is operated by Esso Exploration Angola (ExxonMobil). Located in 1200 meters (3,940 ft) of water at Deep water block 200 statute miles (320 km) offshore in the Atlantic Ocean from Angola, Central Africa, it weighs 81,000 tonnes and is 285 meters long, 63 meters wide, and 32 meters high (935 ft by 207 ft (63 m) by 105 ft).
The first FSO in the Gulf of Mexico, The FSO Ta’Kuntah, has been in operation since August 1998. The FSO, owned and operated by MODEC, is under a service agreement with PEMEX Exploration and Production. The vessel was installed as part of the Cantarell Field Development. The field is located in the Bay of Campeche, offshore Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula. It is a converted ULCC tanker with a SOFEC external turret mooring system, two flexible risers connected in a lazy-S configuration between the turret and a pipeline end manifold (PLEM) on the seabed, and a unique offloading system. The FSO is designed to handle 800,000 bbl/d (130,000 m3/d) with no allowance for downtime.
The Skarv FPSO, developed and engineered by Aker Solutions for BP Norge, is one of the most advanced and largest FPSO deployed in the Norwegian Sea, offshore Mid Norway. Skarv is a gas condensate and oil field development. The development ties in five sub-sea templates, and the FPSO has capacity to include several smaller wells nearby in the future. The process plant on the vessel can handle about 19,000,000 cubic metres per day (670,000,000 cu ft/d) of gas and 13,500 cubic metres per day (480,000 cu ft/d) of oil. An 80 km gas export pipe ties in to Åsgard transport system. Aker Solutions (formerly Aker Kvaerner) developed the front-end design for the floating production facility as well as the overall system design for the field and preparation for procurement and project management of the total field development. The hull is an Aker Solutions proprietary “Tentechtm975” design. BP also selected Aker Solutions to perform the detail engineering, procurement and construction management assistance (EPcma) for the Skarv field development. The EPcma contract covers detail engineering and procurement work for the FPSO topsides as well as construction management assistance to BP including hull and topside facilities. The production started in field on August 2011. BP awarded the contract for fabrication of the Skarv FPSO hull to Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea and the Turret contract to SBM. The FPSO has a length of 292 m, beam of 50.6 m and is 29 m deep, accommodates about 100 people in single cabins. The hull is delivered in January 2010.