Deepwater energy projects in the new hydrocarbon basin off the north-eastern coast of South America have generated fresh demand for new offshore tugs
Edison Chouest Offshore has secured contracts to assist tankers loading crude from an offshore terminal in Guyana.
A series of oil discoveries and a major offshore energy project by ExxonMobil and its partners has transformed Guyana into a key investment centre for future developments.
ExxonMobile estimates it has discovered more than 8Bn barrels of oil and associated hydrocarbons in the Stabroek Block.
This US supermajor started oil production from the Liza Phase 1 project in December 2019. It plans to develop more of the block’s resources in a phase two project at Liza and the Payara field.
These projects will transform Guyana into a major crude oil exporting nation generating new tanker short- and long-haul trades.
Each of these projects involves a newbuild floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) ship with a nexus of subsea systems producing more than 200,000 barrels per day at peak levels.
Associated with these field developments is exporting crude by tankers at an offshore terminal. To service tankers and operations at this terminal, Edison Chouest Offshore will build at least two support vessels with hybrid propulsion.
Damen Shipyards Group has been awarded a contract to design a new offshore terminal tug for Edison Chouest. These azimuth stern drive (ASD) tugs will be built at Edison Chouest’s shipyard in Louisiana, US. They will be built to an ASD Tug 5016 design with a 50-m length and 16-m beam.
Damen has designed this tug to provide escort, hold-back, hose-handling and maintenance duties offshore Guyana. It will also provide emergency response duties with a fire-fighting system on board to FiFi1 class and oil spill recovery equipment.
The tugs will also carry a workboat to assist in hose-handling operations.
Damen said these tugs will each have 120 tonnes of static bollard pull delivered by twin C-280 engines and azimuth thrusters installed on the stern.
When these tugs are waiting for work, their power will come from a hybrid propulsion system installed in the engineroom. To facilitate the hose maintenance, these vessels will have a 27-m aft deck with hose-flushing equipment and a full width sump.
Damen developed the ASD Tug 5016 design in close collaboration with Edison Chouest, using the tug owner’s operational experience to date offshore Guyana.
“The ASD Tug 5016 is a testimony to the successful relationship Damen has enjoyed with Edison Chouest over the years,” said Damen sales manager Americas Daan Dijxhoorn.
“Our ASD Tug 5016 draws on proven Damen technology and applies it in a new way to meet the requirements of Edison Chouest and their clients.”
Edison Chouest has built 12 vessels to Damen ASD Tugs 3212 design and five Damen ASD 4517 tugs.
ExxonMobil expects the first FPSO on the Liza project, Liza Destiny, to produce 120,000 b/d from eight wells at peak. This FPSO started production in December 2019.
It expects to bring Liza Phase 2, using Liza Unity FPSO in mid-2022 with peak output of 220,000 b/d from 15 wells.
ExxonMobil intends to develop the Payara field with a similar FPSO, to be named Prosperity, in 2024.
To date, ExxonMobil has discovered oil with wells on these prospects: Payara, Liza deep, Snoek, Turbot, Ranger, Pacora, Longtail, Hammerhead, Pluma, Tilapia, Haimara, Yellowtail, Tripletail and Mako.
ExxonMobil could be producing more than 300,000 b/d of crude by 2023 and 500,000 b/d of oil by 2025, generating new exports and tanker trades in the Atlantic to rival output from Brazil, Gulf of Mexico and Venezuela.
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