SINGAPORE – Shell Offshore Inc. has contracted Sembcorp Marine Rigs & Floaters Pte. Ltd. to build and integrate the topsides and hull of a floating production unit (FPU) for the Whale field in the Gulf of Mexico.
The agreement precedes a final investment decision for the full Whale project, which is expected to be made next year by Shell. It paves the way for the Whale FPU to move ahead and take advantage of synergies from Shell’s Vito FPU, currently under construction at Sembcorp Marine’s Tuas Boulevard Yard.
The Whale FPU comprises a topsides module and a four-column semisubmersible floating hull, with a combined weight of 25,000 metric tons. Slated for completion in 2022, it will operate in the Alaminos Canyon block 772.
Like the Vito FPU, the entire Whale FPU topsides will be integrated and commissioned on ground level at Tuas Boulevard Yard in order to minimize work-at-height risks for the workers, Sembcorp Marine said. The completed FPU topsides will then be raised and attached to a 51-m (167-ft) tall hull, using a pair of gantry cranes that can lift up to 30,000 metric tons.
The cranes will enable the company to integrate the topsides and hull in one lift, according to William Gu, Sembcorp Marine Head of Rigs & Floaters.