Fugro performs first-ever FPSO remote positioning in North Sea

Dutch offshore services firm Fugro has provided first-ever remote positioning services onboard a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel for Bluewater in the North Sea.

Fugro said that the remote positioning was conducted during a scheduled subsea inspection, repair, and maintenance campaign.

The week-long operation included accurate remote configuration of the positioning systems onboard an undisclosed FPSO, the assisting anchor handling vessel and the dive support vessel, with no Fugro survey crew offshore making it the first fully remote FPSO heading control operation in the North Sea.

Fugro managed the remote operation from its center in Aberdeen via a low bandwidth connection enabling command and control of the integrated survey system onboard the vessel and communication with the FPSO marine crew.

Alastair McKie, Fugro’s director for positioning and construction support Europe, said: “Fugro is pleased to have assisted Bluewater and the end operator with this key FPSO project and offer increased efficiencies via our remote service solutions. The goal is not only to reduce total spend but also to optimize the number of personnel working offshore, simplify mobilizations and reduce health, safety, and environmental exposure.”

Although Fugro did not disclose the name of the FPSO, the company has only three such vessels currently working in the North Sea – the Aoka Mizu, Bleo Holm, and the Haewene Brim.

The first FPSO, the Aoka Mizu, is working for Hurricane Energy on its Lancaster oil field off the UK. It produced first oil during a 72-hour production test on June 4.

The Bleo Holm has been working at the Ross and Blake fields for Repsol Sinopec Resources UK, previously Talisman Energy, in the UK sector of the North Sea since 1999. In April, Repsol Sinopec announced that the Tain field would also produce through the Bleo Holm FPSO with an expected production start in 2021. The field development plan is expected by the end of 2019.

The final Bluewater FPSO working in the North Sea is the Haewene Brim. It has been operational at the Pierce field in the UK sector of the North Sea since 1999 for Shell.

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