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Despite their increasing popularity over the last 30 years as a means of offshore field development, the use of Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels has eluded the Gulf of Mexico, due to regulatory requirements and a lack of economic incentives. New technologies and stable $60-plus/bbl world oil prices have largely overcome these hurdles, and economic and environmental concerns arising from the 2005 hurricanes have increased the technology’s attractiveness, resulting in the recent launch of FPSO projects in the GOM.
In the last year, the US Minerals Management Service has approved general plans for a Petrobras FPSO to produce from Cascade and Chinook fields, and a Floating Production Unit, developed by Helix as a first step to an FPSO and operated by Helix subsidiary ERT at the old Typhoon field. The MMS expects many FPSO applications to follow the deployment of these projects. Meanwhile, a Pemex FPSO has begun . . .
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