FPSO Liza Unity; Source: SBM Offshore

Another industry first for ExxonMobil’s second FPSO in Guyana as ABS bestows new notation upon it

A floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which is working on ExxonMobil’s first oil development project in the Stabroek block off the coast of Guyana, has tucked one more industry first under its belt by receiving what is said to be the world’s first REMOTE-CON notation for an FPSO from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), a classification society.

FPSO Liza Unity; Source: SBM Offshore

The ABS-classed FPSO Liza Unity, the second FPSO deployed at the ExxonMobil-operated Liza field in Guyana’s Stabroek block, has now collected the REMOTE-CON notation.  The representatives from ABS, SBM Offshore (operator of the FPSO), and ExxonMobil Guyana (FPSO owner), met at an event in Houston for an official presentation of the new class notation.

This class notation is said to demonstrate the vessel’s alignment with remote-control functions, signifying that the design and construction of the offshore asset are assessed against and adhere to the ABS’ requirements for autonomous and remote control functions.

Alex Glenn, SBM Offshore COO; Matthew Scharf, ExxonMobil Public and Government Affairs Manager for Guyana; John McDonald, ABS President and COO; Miguel Hernandez, ABS Senior Vice President, Global Offshore; Patricia De Almeida, ABS Director, Business Development; Source: ABS

Alex Glenn, SBM Offshore’s COO, remarked: “This important milestone in the evolution of our deepwater FPSO operating model has been achieved in close collaboration with ExxonMobil Guyana and ABS. Remote access and control capabilities are a key component of our strategy to maximize the safety, integrity and availability of our assets and progress towards our goal of net-zero.”

Liza Unity is not only the first FPSO delivered under SBM Offshore’s Fast4Ward program but also the first vessel to receive the SUSTAIN-1 notation from ABS, signifying the vessel’s alignment with key elements of the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) requirements outlined in the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs).

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John McDonald, ABS’ President and COO, commented: “Remote control capabilities have the potential to improve the health, safety and quality processes on offshore assets. We are proud to use our extensive expertise in the offshore industry to support SBM Offshore with advanced capabilities like remote-control technologies.

“Safety and quality are at the heart of our mission, and we join SBM Offshore and ExxonMobil Guyana in the commitment to exploring new innovations for the betterment of offshore energy production.”

The first FPSO at the Liza field in the Stabroek block, Liza Destinystarted production in December 2019 as part of the Liza Phase 1 development. The second one, Liza Unity, began production in February 2022, as part of the Liza Phase 2 development. Another FPSO, Prosperity, is working at ExxonMobil’s third development, known as Payara.

In addition, construction is underway on FPSOs for the Yellowtail and Uaru projects, which are the fourth and fifth developments offshore Guyana, with the first anticipated to start production in 2025 and the second one targeted in 2026. Recently, ExxonMobil made a final investment decision (FID) to develop Whiptail, its sixth project in the Stabroek block.

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Covering 6.6 million acres or 26,800 square kilometers, the Stabroek block is operated by ExxonMobil’s affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana with a 45% interest. The company’s partners in the block are Hess Guyana Exploration (30%) and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana (25%).

Six FPSOs with a gross production capacity of more than 1.2 million barrels of oil per day are expected to be online on the Stabroek block by the end of 2027. ExxonMobil has hinted at the potential for up to ten FPSOs to develop the block’s estimated gross discovered recoverable resources of over 11 billion barrels of oil equivalent.