Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO)
FPSO stands for Floating Production, Storage and Offloading. An FPSO system is an offshore production facility that is typically ship-shaped, based on a (converted) oil tanker hull or can be a vessel built specially for the application.
It is equipped with hydrocarbon processing equipment for separation and treatment of crude oil, water and gases, arriving on board from sub-sea oil wells via flexible pipelines.
FPSO Kwame Nkrumah (MODEC)
Treated oil is transferred to cargo tanks in the FPSO shipвЂ™s hull. Treated gas is used as fuel for on-board power generation, and excess gas is either re-injected back into the subsea reservoirs or exported via a pipeline to shore. Water that is produced during production is discharged overboard, within the environmental limits. Alternatively, water may be injected into the reservoirs.
The crude oil is periodically offloaded to shuttle tankers or ocean-going barges for transport to shore. FPSOвЂ™s may be used as production facilities to develop marginal oil fields or fields in deepwater areas remote from the existing OCS pipeline infrastructure.
The FPSO concept allows oil companies to produce oil in more remote areas and in deeper water than would have been economically possible with other technology, like fixed piled structures. Furthermore, it has storage capacity for the treated crude oil produced and is equipped with an offloading system to transfer the crude oil to shuttle tankers for shipment to refineries, rather than requiring a pipeline to transport oil to shore. FPSOs are preferred in frontier offshore regions as they are easy to install, and do not require a local pipeline infrastructure to export oil.
A vessel used only to store oil (without processing it) is referred to as a floating storage and offloading vessel (FSO).