Energy companies will continue to develop deepwater oil and gas fields with networks of subsea systems tied into production ships, unperturbed by the global coronavirus pandemic
These projects will generate considerable work for offshore support vessels, drilling rigs, subsea construction and flowline laying vessels over the next five years.
Many deepwater oil and gas projects are currently under construction or under tender, despite fears these field developments could be postponed or cancelled due to this year’s slump in oil prices. Energy markets were hammered this year as Covid-19 crisis resulted in falling demand and lower oil prices. This led to energy-company budget cuts and postponed shallow-water projects.
But the scale and economics of deepwater developments means energy majors remain committed to investing in them, albeit with revised budgets, said SBM Offshore chief executive Bruno Chabas. “Deepwater projects in quality basins continue to rank favourably in client portfolios,” he said, in a summary of the state of the energy development market.
SBM supplies floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) ships to energy majors and national oil companies for developments worldwide. It remains a leader in FPSO lease and operate, with several projects ongoing or under tender.
SBM has four FPSOs under construction in China and plans to order another based on deepwater projects offshore South America. These projects are supported by fleets of OSVs and subsea construction and installation vessels, anchor handlers and supply ships.
“SBM Offshore is demonstrating the strength of its business model despite the twin challenges of the global pandemic and low oil prices,” said Mr Chabas. “Our teams are succeeding in maintaining our focus on project delivery and safe operations while working together virtually, across time zones with clients, suppliers and all our other global stakeholders with the aim of limiting delivery delays and interruptions to operations.”
SBM Offshore invested in the Fast4Ward programme with five FPSO hulls ordered from a Chinese shipyard and with topside installation and commissioning in Singapore.
Three hulls are allocated to projects: FPSOs Liza Unity, Prosperity and Sepetiba. Hulls allocated to FPSOs Liza Unity and Prosperity are completed. These FPSOs will become part of ExxonMobil’s deepwater oil developments in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana.
ExxonMobil is already producing oil from the block’s Liza field through subsea wells tied into SBM’s FPSO Liza Destiny, where commissioning work on the natural gas injection system is progressing. It plans to bring Liza Phase 2, using Liza Unity FPSO, online in mid-2022 with peak output of 220,000 b/d from 15 wells.
ExxonMobil intends to develop the Payara field with FPSO Prosperity in 2024. SBM said fabrication work on the FPSO is due to start soon in Singapore.
To date, ExxonMobil has discovered oil with 14 exploration wells in the block, indicating there could be subsea installation work and drilling support for the rest of this decade.
Edison Chouest and Kotug International have secured contracts to support ongoing tanker loadings at offshore terminals for ExxonMobil.
Noble Corp has three ultra-deep water drillships - Noble Tom Madden, Noble Don Taylor and Noble Bob Douglas - in Guyana supporting ExxonMobil’s deepwater developments.
SBM’s third Fast4Ward MPF hull is destined to become FPSO Sepetiba, to be deployed on the Petrobras’ Mero deepwater field, offshore Brazil.
It said construction of the hull is progressing at the yard in China and modules fabrication continues to progress in Brazil and China with a planned completion end-2022.
SBM plans to construct a fourth and fifth hull, yet to be allocated to projects, progressing in 2021. “These hulls will support ongoing tendering activity,” SBM said.
The company has diversified into offshore renewables through a contract with EDF Renouvelables to assist with the Provence Grand Large windfarm project offshore Marseille.
SBM is responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of three floating units and associated mooring system for offshore wind turbines with a total capacity of 25.2 MW.
Forecasts of offshore projects and demand for OSVs will be presented during Riviera’s Offshore Support Journal, Asia virtual conference, on 2-3 December - use this link for more details and to register for this essential event