Sembcorp Marine to build FPU for Shell’s Whale field in Gulf of Mexico

Singapore’s Sembcorp Marine Rigs & Floaters has won a contract from Shell to build and integrate the topside and hull of a Floating Production Unit (FPU) for the Whale field in the Gulf of Mexico.

Artist’s impression of the Whale Floating Production Unit (FPU)

The agreement precedes a final investment decision for the full Whale project, expected to be made next year by Shell.

Sembcorp Marine said on Friday that it paves the way for the Whale FPU to move ahead and take advantage of synergies from the ongoing Shell Vito FPU, currently under construction at Sembcorp Marine’s Tuas Boulevard Yard.

The Whale FPU comprises a topside module and a four-column semi-submersible floating hull, with a combined weight of 25,000 tonnes. Slated for completion in 2022, it will operate in the Alaminos Canyon Block 772.

“We are very grateful to Shell for recognizing our yard capabilities and entrusting us with the Whale FPU project, which comes after our successful bid for the Shell Vito FPU last year,” Sembcorp Marine Head of Rigs & Floaters William Gu said.

Like the Vito FPU, the entire Whale FPU topside will be integrated and commissioned on ground level at Tuas Boulevard Yard in order to minimise work-at-height risks for the workers. The completed FPU topside will then be raised and attached to a 51-metre tall hull, using a pair of gantry cranes that can lift up to 30,000 tonnes.

“With our state-of-the-art 30,000-tonne cranes at Tuas Boulevard Yard, we can assemble the Whale FPU topside into a mega-block and combine it with the hull efficiently in one single lift,” Gu said.

Other than the Whale and Vito FPUs, Sembcorp Marine’s project track record in the Gulf of Mexico includes previous deliveries of eight semi-submersible drilling rigs and one semi-submersible hull.

The Whale project is operated by Shell (60%) and co-owned by Chevron U.S.A. Inc. (40%). It was discovered in the Alaminos Canyon Block 772, adjacent to the Shell-operated Silvertip field and approximately 10-miles from the Shell-operated Perdido platform.


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