FPSOs are increasingly being used for production around the world. In theory, as more newbuilds and conversions enter the market, they should become less costly to produce. Unfortunately, that has not been the case, according to Matthez Sliwinski of Canada's Vencor Technologies Ltd.
Sliwinski told participants at ISOPE 2004 that modular construction could be the answer to lower construction costs for newbuild FPSOs.
Sliwinski's concept is to address a large number of FPSO components as modules, including the mooring system interface, bow, stern, and hull configuration, accommodations, the helideck, power generation, standard riser porch, standard umbilical support, and many of the other interface systems. Sliwinski believes design and performance characteristics can be more easily improved by separating the components. He said this approach could make lump-sum FPSO construction projects feasible.
"We want to define most of the FPSO design before a contract is on the table," Sliwinski said.
In the usual process, design changes not only eat up engineering time, they normally do not pay off, because they take so long to implement, Sliwinski said. As a result, "Overdesign is very often the least expensive solution."
According to Sliwinski, the modular concept improves engineering quality because it allows a group of engineers to focus on improving the elements of the design. And design integrity can be assured through involving classification societies, Sliwinski said. "We have all of the bases covered in the modular concept."