Added safety measures taken for North Sea Athena FPSO

Conversion of the Athena field FPSO in the UK North Sea has proven more complex than originally anticipated, according to operator Ithaca Energy.

Offshore staff

CALGARY, Canada – Conversion of the Athena field FPSO in the UK North Sea has proven more complex than originally anticipated, according to operator Ithaca Energy.

However, despite the increase in the amount of work required, BW Offshore and Dubai Dry Docks have completed engineering to deliver the vessel close to the original schedule.

Following a consultation on health and safety needs, further redundancy is being added to the vessel’s power and heading control systems. This is in response to the incident in the UK North Sea early this year when storms caused the Gryphon FPSO to suffer a mooring system failure.

The additional work is intended to ensure that the production start is not delayed once the vessel has arrived at the Athena field.

Ithaca adds that payments for the vessel by the Athena Joint Venture remain unchanged and will start via a day rate to BW Offshore once the FPSO is moored over the field and produced oil is transferred to the vessel's storage tanks.

Once the vessel leaves Dubai, it will sail to the North Sea and hook up to the pre-installed production buoy. In-field commissioning should be minimized by the dockside work currently in progress in Dubai. The journey and in-field pre-start-up should take around five weeks.

Installation of subsea equipment at the field location is on schedule. The submerged buoy mooring system and all flowlines have been installed. Installation continues of the power and control umbilicals, as does connection of flexible risers to the riser base and submerged buoy. Both should be completed well before the FPSO arrives in the field.

Finally, all the development wells are ready for production and the Sedco 704 drilling rig is off contract.

12/09/2011

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