FPSO Leopold Sédar Senghor; Courtesy of Woodside

With FPSO requiring more work, first oil gets bumped to mid-2024

Following a cost and schedule review, Australia’s energy giant Woodside has revised its cost estimate and timeline for the start-up of Senegal’s first offshore oil development due to the identification of remedial work being required on a floating, production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel destined for this project.

FPSO Leopold Sédar Senghor; Courtesy of Woodside

The Australian company has been working on the Sangomar field development Phase 1, targeting approximately 230 million barrels of crude oil, since the project was sanctioned in January 2020. As a result, Woodside awarded the contract for the supply of the FPSO, named after Senegal’s first president, Leopold Sédar Senghor, for the project to MODEC that same year.

By January 2023, the subsea installation campaign had progressed with rigid pipeline installation being 69 per cent complete. The development drilling programme continued with seven of 23 wells finished while the construction phase for the FPSO was completed in China.

Afterwards, the FPSO was relocated to Singapore to complete topsides integration and pre-commissioning. The project was 77 per cent complete at the end of the fourth quarter of 2022. The first oil was anticipated in late 2023.

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However, as unexpected remedial work is required on the FPSO for this project, the first oil is now targeted for mid-2024 and the total project cost is expected to be $4.9 – 5.2 billion, an increase of 7-13 per cent from the previous cost estimate of $4.6 billion, after a cost and schedule review. The overall project was 88 per cent complete on 30 June 2023.

Furthermore, the subsea installation campaign was 76 per cent complete, with the subsea work scope 95 per cent complete. On the other hand, the development drilling programme continues with 12 of 23 wells drilled and completed.

While Diamond Offshore’s Ocean BlackHawk drillship completed its work scope in July, the remaining drilling activity will be completed by the Ocean BlackRhino drillship. According to Woodside, the well results to date have confirmed the quality of the resource.

Meg O’Neill, Woodside CEO, commented: “We have taken the prudent decision to have the remedial work conducted while the FPSO remains at the shipyard in Singapore. This minimises the impact to the project schedule as it is safer, more efficient and more cost-effective than undertaking the work offshore Senegal.

“This approach ensures we can achieve production start-up in line with the adjusted schedule and ramp up operations as planned. The change in project schedule has no impact on Woodside’s production guidance for 2023.”

China’s Cosco started converting a very large crude carrier (VLCC) into an FPSO for the Sangomar project in 2021. The topside modules were fabricated by both COSCO and BOMESC Offshore Engineering Company in Tianjin, and the external turret mooring system was done by Penglai Jutal Offshore Engineering Heavy Industries (PJOE).

As Keppel was hired by MODEC in 2022 to complete topsides integration and support pre-commissioning and commissioning activities for this FPSO, the vessel was relocated to Keppel Offshore & Marine’s Tuas Shipyard in Singapore. 

Once completed and delivered to Woodside, the FPSO, which will have the capacity to process 100,000 barrels of oil per day, will be moored in waters approximately 780 metres deep and will be located approximately 100 km south of Dakar, Senegal.

The Sangomar field development Phase 1 will be Senegal’s first offshore oil project after it comes on stream. Woodside is the operator with an 82 per cent participating interest in the project, while its parent, Petrosen, holds the remaining 18 per cent.