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Ship Types – FPSO

FPSO is a floating system for the extraction, storage and unloading of petroleum products. It is one of a number of different types of floating systems used today in the oil and gas industry.

Outwardly, it resembles a vessel, but it was designed in a completely different way and it carries not only all the necessary products and technological equipment, usually related to the platform of fixed oils and gas production platform, but also tanks for crude oil extracted from wells on the seabed.

It is moored for a long time in the place allotted to it and connected to the wells by a flexible water separating column.

What are the types of FPSO?

As the name suggests, floating systems are not permanently attached to the seabed, but are designed for mooring in order to stay at the station for long periods of time. There are many different options for such systems, the terminology and acronyms also vary, even for the very word “system”!

Commonly used abbreviations:

FSO is a floating system for storing and unloading petroleum products, as a rule, it is a vessel or a floating barge with a hull containing tanks for storing extracted oil and a means for pumping oil from the tanks. These installations do not have any production and technological equipment.

FPSO is a floating system for oil production, storage and unloading, which, in addition to the ability to store and unload oil, also includes equipment for receiving crude oil from producing wells and processing it for export, separating water and gas.

FPS – Floating Oil Production System: This is a generic term to describe any floating device designed to receive and process crude oil from production wells. This system may not have storage equipment, in which case oil will be transferred via the pipeline to the shore or to the nearest FSO.

FSU – floating storage; a floating device designed exclusively for the storage of oil. Export can be carried out using a pipeline to an onshore device, as opposed to unloading to supply tankers. Sometimes this abbreviation is used as a synonym for FSO.

FDPSO – a new type of vessel, appeared in 2009, equipped with a drilling rig. Moreover, the drilling module can be removed and used elsewhere. Currently, there is one such vessel owned by PROSAFE: “FDSPO Azurite” (see picture below).
Floating oil production systems, with production equipment, but usually without storage facilities, have many varieties. They range in size from small barges converted with separation equipment installed on them for small-scale production to 25,000 barrels of oil daily to huge specialized vessels with the ability to process more than 200,000 barrels per day. Some may be refitted rigs as well as semi-submersible or leveling platforms.

FPSOs, which combine oil production, storage and unloading systems, are usually ship-shaped and can be built from scratch or converted from an existing building, bringing about key changes to increase strength and fatigue resistance in individual areas.
Each project has its own advantages, depending on the depth of oil, local environmental conditions and economic factors.

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