FPSO Terra Nova; Source: Suncor

Canadian FPSO comes back online years after embarking on revamp project

Canadian energy company Suncor has brought back into production a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel, as part of its field life extension project offshore Canada. This project is running several months behind schedule due to delayed overhaul works on the FPSO and cost overruns.

FPSO Terra Nova; Source: Suncor

The Terra Nova life extension project was sanctioned in September 2021, following an agreement in principle for restructuring to provide funding. The asset life extension (ALE) project is expected to extend production life by approximately ten years, providing an additional 70 million barrels of resource for the partnership. After maintenance work was carried out in late 2021, the FPSO Terra Nova sailed away from the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in December 2021 to Ferrol, Spain.

Following the external hull work, the FPSO was moved from the shipyard’s drydock to the quayside to complete the remaining work with a focus on fabric maintenance, such as rust removal, painting, new insulation, and new heat tracing. At the time, the firm explained that two million kilograms of mooring chain had been replaced since April 2022 with a new chain that weighs about 450 kilograms per meter, as part of the Terra Nova asset life extension project.

The subsea work was expected to be complete by mid-August. Several months later, Suncor confirmed that the FPSO was anticipated to sail back to Canada later in the fourth quarter of 2022. The return to production was slated for early 2023. However, the vessel did not arrive back in Canada until August 2023. Prior to the vessel’s arrival, the Canadian offshore regulator laid charges in December 2022 against Suncor Energy related to an incident from December 2019 in which a worker was injured on the FPSO.

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According to Suncor Energy, the production from the FPSO Terra Nova has now restarted, following the completion of the Terra Nova asset life extension project. The production volume is expected to ramp up over the coming months.

Rich Kruger, Suncor’s President and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Focusing on safety and operational integrity, we have brought this key offshore project online, providing additional cash flow for our shareholders as well as many benefits to the Newfoundland and Labrador and Canadian economies. We appreciate the collaboration and support from the provincial and federal governments regarding this project.”

Located offshore approximately 350 kilometers southeast of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Terra Nova oil field started production in 2002, using the FPSO Terra Nova, which has the capacity to store nearly a million barrels of oil. Suncor (48%) is the operator of the projects while the firm’s partners are Cenovus (34%) and Murphy Oil Corporation (18%).

“Following regulatory engagement including safety, environmental and operational oversight and inspections, Suncor Energy Inc. has fulfilled the required conditions allowing the Terra Nova FPSO to return to production operations,” highlighted the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB).