Unique, innovative and fit for purpose
Over the past three decades, BW Offshore has completed 38 FPSO and FSO conversions resulting in a strong conversion competence developed over time. In addition, BW Offshore has the unique privilege of having operated these units. Both these factors ensure a robust foundation for future projects. In its valuable position of being experienced in all phases from design engineering through to long-term operations BW Offshore has a unique competitive advantage when it comes to providing clients with an efficient total life cycle cost.
FIT FOR PURPOSE CONCEPT
The FPSO concept selection stage is critical and determines much of the future technical and economic lifecycle of the unit in production. Concept development begins early in the tendering process with a close collaboration between the client team and BW Offshore concept and technology experts to explore and evaluate options. BW Offshore has a core team of engineers heavily involved in this phase. A highly experienced and well accomplished team allows for unique, innovative and fit for purpose solutions to be considered. This is balanced by the extensive real life FPSO experience ensuring that the FPSO design concept is pragmatic and workable.
Hull selection and the new-build /conversion decision is one of the first which influences the design. Making the right choice requires a good understanding of the risks and rewards of each alternative. Weighing the benefits of a proven hull, the costs of refurbishment and the schedule implications against a new-built hull is a complex optimisation exercise that company engineers are expert at performing and providing to clients.
There are also numerous other factors to be considered in the quest for an optimal solution. The weather conditions in the field need to be carefully considered as do the field, oil quality, gas solutions, water, environmental concerns and of course, the regulatory framework. In all these areas BW Offshore has amassed a substantial experience database over the years. Early engagement with the client team ensures a solid concept selection process to meet technical and financial objectives over the lifecycle of the unit.
PRAGMATIC AND INNOVATIVE DESIGN
When it comes to engineering design, three factors make BW Offshore hard to match - the in-house competence with a focused core team of engineering experts, technical documentation and standards built from years of FPSO engineering experience and decades of operating experience working with FPSOs long after they have been designed and built - producing, processing, storing and offloading. The team at BW Offshore has established optimised design criteria taking into account details such as prevailing laws and regulations, client requirements and past experience. BW Offshore now has experience in a wide range and number of challenging assignments, having built and now operating the world’s largest and the world’s smallest FPSOs as well as the world’s deepest moored FPSO. The company operates a fleet of 16 FPSOs in West Africa, Brazil, Gulf of Mexico, the US Gulf, The North Sea, Indonesia and New Zealand. Each day bring new opportunities for learning and improving on technical maintenance and uptime management. The long term commitment also ensures that the focus is less on meeting short term cost objectives in the project phase and more on the cost of the asset over its entire lifecycle. A solid base of engineering standard documentation ensures a consistent and optimised approach to engineering activity while ensuring that new lessons learned from operations are constantly incorporated.
The trend now is for clients to commission the BW Offshore engineering team to participate in paid Front End Engineering Design (FEED) studies either exclusively or in competitive tenders. Given the multi-million dollar investments required in FPSO conversion and new building, this is a logical development. The team is also approached from time to time to support and complement a client team in the role of Owner’s Engineer - helping oversee engineering sub-contractors on behalf of the client.
TRANSLATING VISION TO REALITY
From engineering to procurement of materials and equipment, and fabrication and integration, to finally testing the facility before hand over to the Operations team, project execution is complex. It also requires extreme discipline to ensure that multiple hundreds of people from BW Offshore, subcontractors and yards work together seamlessly to deliver on time and on budget. The project execution division is responsible for ensuring a structured, methodical, disciplined, repeatable and continuously improving approach to project execution. BW Offshore has a strong in-house project execution resource pool comprising project engineers, construction superintendents and managers, safety and quality personnel, supply chain competence, project planners, estimators and cost controllers, mechanical completion, commissioning and start-up experts.
A team of discipline engineers and engineering managers with topside, hull and overall responsibility ensure that a strong link is maintained with the engineering team during project execution. This is essential to ensure that the design concept and the engineering deliveries are translated effectively to a working, well-constructed FPSO. Frontloading of engineering and procurement activities is essential in project execution to ensure sufficient time for construction teams to execute plans and build the facility. This in turn allows for a thorough and timely commissioning process where individuals who combine the best of project and operations experience test the unit adequately to ensure a smooth start-up and high regularity from the get go.
Project teams are put together in a bespoke manner - handpicking individuals with specialist knowledge and experience for each assignment and partnering with appropriate subcontractors. This allows BW Offshore to combine competence with scalability. Pulling such multi-national, multi-skilled and multi-locational teams together in a coordinated manner requires a high level of planning and organising as well as a strong corporate culture built on teamwork, communication and solution orientation.