BOEMRE Gives Nod To First FPSO In Gulf

May 2011, Vol. 238 No. 5

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has provided the final approval necessary for Petrobras America, Inc. to begin oil and natural gas production at its Cascade-Chinook project using a Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO) facility.

This will be the first time this technology is used in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. BOEMRE approved the project’s Production Safety System permit and Supplemental Deepwater Operating Plan (DWOP), to ensure that stringent safety regulations were met.

The FPSO has a production capacity of 80,000 bopd and 16 MMcf/d of natural gas. With the completion of this final regulatory step, production from this facility is expected to begin in the near future.

The Cascade-Chinook fields, located in the Walker Ridge leasing area, approximately 165 miles offshore Louisiana in 8,200 feet of water, will use the B.W. Pioneer, which is a floating facility that has the capability to process oil and natural gas, store the crude oil in tanks located in the facility’s hull, and offload the crude to shuttle tankers for transportation to shore. Natural gas processed by the facility will be transported to shore by pipeline. Petrobras’ FPSO will be equipped with a disconnectable turret-buoy. In the event of a hurricane or tropical storm, the facility is designed to disconnect from the turret-buoy and move off location until the storm has passed.