SBM Offshore orders first Fast4Ward FPSO hull

World’s largest FPSO provider SBM Offshore is pressing forward with its Fast4Ward program.

The program has been designed to standardize the FPSO construction and delivery process, thus reducing cost and speeding up the time to the market.

SBM Offshore, whose FPSO fleet produces around 10 percent of global deepwater production, promises the program can make its clients deep water project returns more attractive in today’s oil price environment.

“Oil developments are increasingly in deeper water with harsher conditions, requiring heavier installations on deck, despite space and weight constraints.  Deep water projects are required to be more efficient and reliable, faster, safer with lower project break-even prices. Fast4Ward addresses these industry challenges through optimized design and standard specifications,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

In an update on Wednesday the company said it made a concrete step towards materialization of the Fast4Ward by signing a new-build hull contract with China Shipbuilding Trading Company, Ltd. (“CSTC”) and the shipyard of Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding and Offshore Co., Ltd. (“SWS”).

The generic hull has been developed based on Brazilian and West African environmental conditions, with the versatility to receive various large topsides with Spread or Turret Mooring configurations.

Using such a hull, Fast4Ward can accelerate delivery of an FPSO by up to 12 months. For a typical project, this can boost value for a client by more than US$0.5 billion, materially lowering project break-even prices, SBM said.

CEO Bruno Chabas said: “In an industry that more than ever needs performance, SBM Offshore brings competitive edge with its track record of reliable delivery and increased productivity through product standardization and faster times to market. Having delivered 34 FPSOs plus 300 years cumulative experience in operating its lease fleet, SBM Offshore is capitalizing on this experience through its Fast4Ward program.

“The program’s result is an optimized design with standard specifications which leads to lower cost, higher quality and productivity on a de-risked plan with reduced safety exposure. Fast4Ward accelerates first oil by up to 12 months. SBM Offshore has now ordered its first standard new-build, multi-purpose hull. As our teams continue to demonstrate today, SBM Offshore is leveraging its experience in order to gain competitiveness and bring value to our clients by helping to lower break-even prices even further.”

As for the first hull covered by the program, it was ordered in June 2017, and the EPC phase of the hull has started.

Capital commitments are phased over time, with planned yard expenditure of c. US$20 million in 2017 and c. US$55 million in 2018, subject to delivery of agreed milestones, SBM said.

Offshore Energy Today has reached out to SBM, asking whether the first hull has been ordered on speculation, or based on an existing contract.

An SBM spokesperson said “SBM Offshore has proceeded with the EPC phase for the F4W hull on speculation as we are cautiously optimistic for improvement in the market.”

Worth noting, SBM Offshore believes that Fast4Ward will give it a major competitive advantage once the FPSO market picks up, as it will fast-track projects compared with the industry average and can cut CAPEX and OPEX costs, while providing clients earlier access to oil.

Offshore ENergy Today Staff