Three record breaking FPSO vessels

Offshore oil rig and FPSO at sunset

Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels certainly have the wow factor: their sheer size, processing power and capability of operating for decades without pause make them impressive facilities - and invaluable to the oil and gas industry. We take a look at the largest, oldest and deepest FPSO vessels in the world.

FPSOs have become the primary operating systems for many offshore oil and gas producing regions across the globe. These ship-shaped vessels are quite the structural engineering feat: designed to suit a variety of environmental conditions and water depths, they are capable of staying on location for continuous operations upwards of 20 years. FPSOs collect fluids from subsea reservoirs through risers (rigid or flexible pipes). These fluids are then separated into crude oil, natural gas, water and impurities within production facilities onboard. Crude oil is stored in internal tanks before being offloaded onto shuttle tankers for distribution. Currently, there are approximately 183 operating FPSOs: here we take a look at the largest, the oldest and the deepest in the world.

Weighing in at 220,000 tonnes with a storage capacity of 2.3 million barrels, the Egina FPSO is the largest in the world, by capacity. Operated by TotalEnergies, the $3 billion vessel is 330 metres long, 61 metres wide and 34 metres tall, and is currently moored at the Egina oil field, 200km off the coast of Nigeria. Connected to 44 subsea wells, this immense facility can produce up to 208,000 barrels of oil per day and is responsible for almost 10% of Nigeria’s total oil production.

Grandfather of all FPSOs, the Arco Ardjuna vessel was built in 1973 and is yet to retire, making it the longest serving FPSO in the world. Operated by Pertamina, the 48-year-old vessel is moored at the Ardjuna Oil Field in the Java Sea, approximately 95km from Jakarta. At the time of its construction, the 53,734 tonne FPSO was one of the largest vessels in the world.

Shell’s Turritella vessel sets the record for the world’s deepest FPSO, reaching to impressive depths of 2,900 metres. Located in Stone’s Field in the US Gulf of Mexico, this FPSO copes with extreme weather conditions in an area known for severe storms and hurricanes.  Purpose-built for Stone’s Field, the vessel boasts the world’s largest disconnectable buoy, allowing it to quickly sail away in the event of hurricanes and later re-connect to resume operation. In yet another record breaker, it the first vessel to combine a disconnectable buoy with steel ‘lazy wave’ risers – an innovation which absorbs the impact of large waves, steadying the vessel and enhancing production performance at extreme depths.