Industry best practices for addressing the challenges posed by an aging global Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) fleet have been published by ABS in a safety milestone for the sector. Enhancing Safety on FPSOs, Practical Considerations for Operations and Maintenance is the product of an ABS-led working group consisting of Chevron, Shell Trading (U.S.) Company, Petrobras, MODEC and SBM as well as The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry, and the U.S. Coast Guard 8th District.
The best practices discussed in the publication, focus on areas such as tank design and arrangement, cleaning and inspection, risk-based inspection of hull structures, composite repair tracking and carrying out repairs while operating. This is the second document in a series setting out best practices to enhance safety of FPSOs.
“Operations and maintenance challenges vary widely across the global fleet of FPSOs. With many assets well over 40 years old, hull integrity and maintenance require a large portion of resources. Alternatively, newer FPSOs are some of the largest ever built and are equipped with the most modern, digital condition monitoring and maintenance systems. While the requirements for these units are similar, the challenges faced in operations and maintenance are quite different. As the leading Class Society in the FPSO market, ABS has a unique opportunity to partner with many different operators and observe, participate in and promote the best practices for safer operations. By working together as an industry to apply new tools, practices, and technology, we can achieve our mission of safer and more effective performance offshore,” said Matt Tremblay, ABS Vice President, Global Offshore.
ABS has also developed its rules, with a significant number of changes applicable to FPSOs, both for existing units and for new facilities. These Rule changes are intended to address many of the risks related to aging FPSOs from both a design and a maintenance perspective.
A total of 55 FPSO units in the global fleet are reaching the end of their design life in the next five years, a further five already have life extension in place, with a further 19 currently being evaluated for life extension. The efforts of this working group will produce outcomes that assist with the evaluation and potential acceptance of life extension.
ABS classed the first FPSO vessel in U.S. waters in 1978 and continues to lead safety and innovation with new technology that supports larger, more complex FPSOs operating in ultra-deepwater and in the pre-salt region of Brazil.