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New DP Vessel

Houlder Ltd in the UK says that, in a move away from traditional floating production, Vampire Production Ltd has engaged Houlder to design a vessel to work on new and marginal oil fields.

Unlike traditional FPSOs, the vessel is designed for short term as well as long term contracts, with the ability to transit from site to site and to port on a regular basis.

Once at a well, the dynamically positioned 153.50m ship will maintain position without anchors and utilise existing wellhead arrangements to start oil production. Crude oil will be processed onboard, stored and ultimately offloaded to shuttle tankers.

A fundamental feature of the vessel is that it an be built and operated at significantly less cost than a traditional FPSO solution, enabling marginal fields with low production flow rates (typically 3,000 to 10,000 bbls/day) to become economically viable.

Key to the design’s success is the low level of weather related downtime expected. The design has a specially designed hull which will achieve a natural roll period well outside the natural wave peak periods predicted.

The working deck has an 8.0m freeboard to minimise the impact of water on deck and the ship’s arrangement of azimuthing thrusters includes sufficient redundancy to keep the vessel on station in extreme conditions.

Martyn Drye, Houlder’s Project Lead said of the ship: “The fundamental difference between this vessel and other floating production units is time on station. Only being on location for a matter of months rather than years means every moment of operability really counts. Our experience of designing all-weather support vessels means we’re ideally placed to ensure Vampire’s unit works as much as possible –
even in difficult weather conditions.”