New FPSO design unveiled by OPE

OPE Inc. today launched its patented spherical floating Satellite Services Platform vessel design.

Gene Kliewer
Technology Editor

HOUSTON –OPE Inc. today launched its patented spherical floating Satellite Services Platform vessel design. The design features a center column which adds stability like a sailboat keel and a round platform shape to present a consistent "face" to winds and seas regardless of direction.

The SSP-320 design, with capacities for 1.25 MMbbl of oil storage and 80,000 b/d oil production, recently was tested at Marin's facilities in the Netherlands and demonstrated less than 4º of significant pitch and roll under Katrina-like metocean conditions. OPE says the platform cannot be capsized.

"The SSP offers the oil and gas industry an exciting opportunity to significantly reduce capital costs and to increase performance in a wide range of applications, including FPSO vessels," said Gary Ouenan, OPE president.

The design is flexible and scalable for uses such as 60-ft control buoys up to 420-ft diameter FPSOs with 2 MMbbl oil storage. Its water-depth limit is constrained by current mooring technology, OPE said.

"The SSP's design … cuts comparable hull steel weight, lowering overall fabrication costs by $10s of millions," said Richard Haun, senior vice president of OPE and the vessel's designer. "We estimate that the SSP will reduce newbuild costs by as much as 50%." Newbuild construction time is estimated at no more than 18 months.

The structural weight of the SSP-320 is 16,000 metric tons (17,637 tons). A comparable storage capacity tanker would weigh 27,000 metric tons (29,762 tons), OPE said.

In addition to the potential cost savings, OPE said the design can eliminate the need for a turret swivel and would not need to be taken off location for a Katrina-level storm. Also, the vessel does not require a dry dock to construct, meaning it can be built at most any port in the world, equipped on shore, and dry or wet towed to the location with the center column either raised out of the water or lowered sufficiently to provide towing stability.

OPE has kicked off a six-month detailed design phase for the facility, during which time it hopes to obtain an operator commitment. After this phase, the company then will take the design to a fabricator for an estimate on construction cost.

The company stressed that while its SSP-320 design is ideal for operations in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, it has application worldwide.


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