Turritella FPSO heads for the Gulf of Mexico

Offshore staff

SINGAPORE Shell is one step closer to achieving first oil at its Stones development from the world’s deepest floating production facility. The Turritella FPSO recently set sail from Singapore, where it was built at the Keppel yard, and is on its way to its new home in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

Once it reaches the Gulf of Mexico, this facility will connect to subsea infrastructure located in the Lower Tertiary play, beneath 9,500 ft (2,896 m) of water, which Shell says breaks the existing water depth record for an oil and gas production facility. 

Stones is located about 200 mi (320 km) southwest of New Orleans in the Walker Ridge area.

“The strength of Shell in deepwater is rooted in our ability to combine innovation with our strong track record for delivery,” said Wael Sawan, executive vice president of Deep Water, Shell Upstream Americas. “Achieving first oil at Stones - in this new Gulf of Mexico frontier - involves taking a measured and strategic approach, growing as we learn more about the reservoir.”

The project has nearly 16 million hours of work safely completed during construction. Shell said a “safety first” mindset and a desire to “build something special with no harm to people” is what led to the safety success during the construction of the Turritella.

Shell selected this vessel design to optimize field development and produce this ultra-deepwater discovery in a safe and responsible manner. Using this floating vessel allows Shell to address the relative lack of infrastructure, seabed complexity, and unique reservoir properties. Aside from being the world’s deepest facility, it also features an industry-first application of combining a disconnectable buoy with steel lazy wave risers – steel pipe with in-line buoyancy that absorbs the vessel’s motion and boosts riser performance at extreme depths.

SBM Offshore was contracted to build the vessel, which is a converted Suezmax FPSO. It will have a processing facility capacity of 60,000 b/d of oil and 15 MMcf/d of gas treatment and export. No water injection facilities are specified. SBM said that the Suezmax hull will be able to store 800,000 bbl of oil.


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