SBM Offshore's Fast4Ward MPF5 hull; Source: Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS)

With hull in dry dock, SBM Offshore marks construction milestone for Guyana-bound FPSO

Chinese shipyard Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS), a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited (CSSC), has taken into its dry dock a hull built for the Netherlands-based SBM Offshore. This is said to be a key piece of equipment for a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which will work at U.S.-based ExxonMobil’s sixth deepwater oil development on the Stabroek block off the coast of Guyana.

SBM Offshore's Fast4Ward MPF5 hull; Source: Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS)

After getting the fifth generic Fast4Ward multi-purpose floater (MPF5) hull award in April 2023,  Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding completed construction and launched the hull on June 21, 2024, in line with the set timeline. The project is expected to be delivered per schedule. According to the Chinese shipyard, this is an FPSO with a storage capacity of up to 2.3 million barrels of crude oil.

“With the joint efforts from all parties and leveraging experience gained from the previous four hulls, MPF5 was launched from the SWS dry dock following the successful completion of planned construction activities including hull erection, equipment installation and piping outfitting. Strong performance in completion of the planned work highlights significant progress made in implementing lessons learned from previous projects,” outlined Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding.

Furthermore, the generic MPF is designed to be equipped with a spread point mooring system that can be used for the hull to meet a wide range of sea conditions. The total number of MPF hulls ordered to date under SBM Offshore’s Fast4Ward program stands at eight with six delivered to projects and exclusivity for the seventh allocated to the FPSO Jaguar destined for ExxonMobil’s Whiptail oilfield development. 

This is the U.S. energy giant’s sixth project in the Stabroek block offshore Guyana located at a water depth of approximately 2,000 meters, which will develop the WhiptailPinktail, and Tilapia fields, along with potential additional resources, should they be feasible and economically viable. After securing regulatory approvals, ExxonMobil made a final investment decision (FID) to develop the project in April 2024.

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The development concept for the Whiptail project covers drilling operations via drillships to produce oil from around 40 to 65 production and injection wells. With an expected field life of at least twenty years, the project is slated to be brought on stream in 2027. SBM Offshore is in charge of front-end engineering and design (FEED) work for the FPSO Jaguar.

The FPSO unit will be the fifth FPSO built by the Dutch player for operations in Guyana. With a production capacity of 250,000 barrels of oil per day, the vessel will have an associated gas treatment capacity of 540 million cubic feet per day and a water injection capacity of 300,000 barrels per day. SBM Offshore expects to operate the FPSO Jaguar for ten years under the operations and maintenance enabling agreement signed in 2023.

Recently, TotalEnergies made a hull reservation with SBM Offshore for an FPSO unit, which will be deployed at its oil project in Block 58 off the coast of Suriname.