First steel cut for Shell’s new Gulf of Mexico FPU – gallery

Singapore’s Seatrium, previously known as Sembcorp Marine, has cheered the first steel fabrication milestone for the construction of a new semi-submersible floating production unit (FPU) destined for Shell’s recently sanctioned deepwater development in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. 

Sparta FPU; Source: Shell Offshore

The start of the construction phase comes weeks after Seatrium confirmed a contract for the construction and integration of the hull, topsides, and living quarters of the Sparta FPU – featuring a single topside module supported by a four-column semi-submersible floating hull – and follows the letter of intent from August 28, 2023. The final investment decision for the project was taken in December 2023.

The FPU will replicate about 95% of the Whale FPU’s hull and 85% of its topsides. Sparta will be Seatrium’s third semi-submersible FPU built for Shell. The two-level topside for Sparta will be integrated and lifted to the hull using Seatrium’s Goliath twin cranes capable of lifting up to 30,000 tones. This FPU is designed to produce 90,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d).

“The strike steel ceremony marks the beginning of the Sparta project in our steel fabrication facility, powered by renewable solar energy. This execution aligns with our Sustainability Vision 2030, focusing on minimizing our carbon footprint operationally and contributing to the industry’s decarbonization efforts,” highlighted Seatrium.

The Sparta project, previously known as North Platte, is a deepwater development in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, measuring 4,300 square feet (1,310 meters). Discovered in 2012 by Cobalt International Energy, the Sparta field is currently operated by Shell Offshore (51%) with Equinor Gulf of Mexico LLC (49%) as the oil major’s partner.

The development plan for the project covers eight production wells tied back to a semi-submersible FPU. With an estimated, discovered recoverable resource volume of 244 million boe and a designed capacity of 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day at peak, the Sparta FPU will feature all-electric compression equipment, allowing for significantly reduced emissions intensity from production.

“The Sparta FPU, a close replica of its predecessors the Shell Vito and Whale FPUs, will leverage operational synergies by replicating the safe and efficient on-ground commissioning before the single-lift integration method for the topsides. When completed, Sparta will be situated in the Garden Banks area of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, and is expected to produce 90,000 boe/d. We are very much looking forward to the successful delivery of the Sparta FPU,” explained Seatrium.

Upon completion, the Sparta FPU will be situated in the Garden Banks area of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, approximately 275 kilometers (171 miles) off the coast of Louisiana. The project is slated to start production in 2028.

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Seatrium won several deals in 2023. One of the more recent ones was secured with Offshore Frontier Solutions Pte Ltd, a MODEC Group company, for topside module fabrication work related to the FPSO Raia in Brazil.


𝐃𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐛 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐚𝐮𝐝𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐯𝐞? 𝐋𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐧𝐨 𝐟𝐮𝐫𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐎𝐟𝐟𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐄𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐲! 𝐎𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐟𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐬 𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐨𝐢𝐥 & 𝐠𝐚𝐬, 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞, 𝐨𝐟𝐟𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐝, 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐞, 𝐡𝐲𝐝𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐞𝐧, 𝐬𝐮𝐛𝐬𝐞𝐚, 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐲, 𝐚𝐥𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐟𝐮𝐞𝐥𝐬, 𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐨𝐧 𝐚 𝐝𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐛𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐬.

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