Photo: BP’s Tortue FPSO; Courtesy of BP

New FPSO sets sail for BP’s giant gas project

UK-headquartered energy giant BP has revealed that a floating, production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel destined for its Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) liquefied natural gas (LNG) project has embarked on its journey towards the project site off the coasts of Mauritania and Senegal.

BP reported on Monday, 23 January 2023, that the Tortue FPSO had set sail on Friday, 20 January 2023, from Qidong, China, upon completion of a series of sea trials following construction at Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry over the past three and half years. The FPSO will now travel 12,000 nautical miles via Singapore to its final destination – around 40 km offshore on the maritime border of the neighbouring countries.  

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Gordon Birrell, BP’s executive vice president of production and operations, remarked: “This is a fantastic milestone for this important project, which is a great example of BP’s resilient hydrocarbon strategy in action. The team has delivered this in a challenging environment, including through Covid, always keeping safe operations at the heart of what they do.

“With the continued support of our partners, Societé Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures in Mauritania, Petrosen in Senegal and Kosmos Energy, we remain committed to helping both countries to develop their world-class resources in a sustainable way.”

According to the oil major, this FPSO is a key part of the major integrated GTA development that also includes subsea development of gas fields and near-shore floating LNG (FLNG) facilities. The project’s first phase is set to produce around 2.3 million tonnes of LNG per year.

Rahman Rahmanov, BP’s vice president of projects for Mauritania & Senegal, commented: “We are developing one of the world’s most unique and innovative gas projects and the FPSO forms one of the most important components. Achieving the successful sailaway of the GTA Phase 1 FPSO is a testimony to the tremendous partnership with our contractors Cosco Shipping and Technip Energies.”

Furthermore, the Tortue FPSO will process natural gas – removing condensate, water, and other impurities – before exporting it by pipeline to the project’s FLNG facilities, 10 km offshore. The FPSO will process around 500 million standard cubic feet of gas per day with eight processing and production modules. 

Based on BP’s statement, the majority of the gas will be liquefied by the FLNG facilities, enabling export to international markets, while some will be allocated to help meet growing demand in the two host countries. On the other hand, condensate will be periodically transferred from the FPSO to shuttle tankers for export to the market.

The FPSO, which will sit in about 120 metres of water, will have up to 140 people on board during normal operation and serve as a home for the project’s production team. With an area equivalent to two football fields, the FPSO is made of more than 81,000 tonnes of steel, 37,000 metres of pipe spools and 1.52 million metres of cable. It has also undergone more than 330,00 inspections. 

As previously reported, BP sees the GTA gas development as “the biggest project” in its portfolio, which has “enough gas to support production for at least 20 years.”

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Moreover, the GTA Phase 1 marks the beginning of a project that is expected to have “a lasting and positive impact for generations to come,” highlighted BP, which already has “a long-standing and wide-ranging cooperation” with the governments of Mauritania and Senegal. This encompasses the GTA project and other potential energy developments.

Meanwhile, BP announced in October 2022 the inking of an exploration and production sharing contract for the BirAllah gas resource in Mauritania. The energy giant also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of Mauritania to deliver a programme exploring the potential for large-scale production of green hydrogen in the country. Additionally, BP continues to work with partners on the development of a gas-to-power project in Senegal – Yakaar Teranga. 

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In a separate statement, BP’s partner, Kosmos Energy, confirmed that the FPSO has departed the Cosco shipyard in China to start its voyage via Singapore to the project site on the maritime border of Mauritania and Senegal. As the journey is approximately 12,000 nautical miles, the vessel is expected to arrive in the second quarter of 2023.

Andrew G. Inglis, Kosmos’ Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “The sailaway of the GTA FPSO from the shipyard in China is a key milestone for the project. At the end of 2022, the project was around 90 per cent complete and we look forward to an active 2023 where we expect to achieve a number of important milestones for the project and the company.”

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