BW Pioneer: FPSO Begins Producing Oil And Gas In Gulf

April 2012, Vol. 239 No. 4

Petrobras has begun production in the Cascade Field through the Cascade 4 well, which is connected to the FPSO BW Pioneer (a Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading vessel platform), located 160 miles off the coast of Louisiana in 2,500 meters of water in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

This is the first FPSO to produce oil and gas in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. With a total length of 794 feet, the FPSO will be able to separate, treat and measure fluids, store oil, export gas via a gas export pipeline, and offload the stored oil to a shuttle vessel.
The FPSO will receive production through dual flow lines that connect to it via risers. The nominal production capacity of the facility will be 80,000 bopd, and gas compression capacity of 16 MM scf/d. The available crude storage capacity of the FPSO will be 500,000 bbl of crude.

The FPSO will be moored with a disconnectable turret buoy providing full weathervaning capability. This disconnect capability enables the vessel to separate from the mooring system and sail away from impending threats such as hurricanes. When disconnected, the remaining infield infrastructure will be located below sea level and thus will minimize the effects of severe surface environmental loads. Once normal sea and weather conditions are restored, the FPSO can reconnect and return to production in less than 12 hours.

Petrobras is the first to develop an oil field in the Gulf using this technology which is systematically applied in Brazil.