Floating production systems being ordered at record pace

Offshore staff

WASHINGTON – The demand for offshore floating production systems is exhibiting strong growth, according to a recent report by International Maritime Associates, Inc (IMA). According to the report, fourteen floating production units have been ordered over the past four months – a record pace reflecting strong underlying market drivers.

With regard to current inventory, IMA found that 256 floating production systems are in service or available worldwide. FPSOs comprise 62% of the inventory. The balance is comprised of production semisubmersibles (17%), tension leg platforms (9%), production spars (7%), production barges and FSRUs (5%). Of the total production floater inventory, 11 units are currently off field and available for reuse – making the effective utilization rate 95.7%.

Relating to recent orders, the report noted that that the 14 orders since March include the world’s 1st FLNG system. At $3 billion, the Prelude FLNG system is the most expensive floating production unit ordered to date. Among the other orders are 9 FPSOs (1 purpose-built unit, 6 units converted from trading tanker hulls and 2 modification/redeployments); 2 production spars, and 2 purpose-built FSRUs. Total value of the 14 construction contracts exceeds $11 billion. 

The report also noted that the current order backlog consists of 53 production floaters, a net increase of 6 units since March. This extends the buildup in backlog that began in second half 2009. Twenty-eight units utilize purpose-built hulls, while 25 are based on converted tanker hulls. Twenty units are being built for leasing operators; 33 directly for field operators.

IMA identified 196 projects in the bidding, design or planning stage that potentially require a floating production or storage system. These projects are declared discoveries or planned developments where a floating production or storage system is being considered as the development option.

Brazil is the most active region for future projects, with 50 potential floater projects in the planning cycle. Next in line is Southeast Asia with 37 projects; followed by West Africa with 36 projects; Northern Europe 22 projects; Gulf of Mexico 17 projects and Australia 11 projects.

Of the 196 planned projects, 53 are in the bidding or final design stage. Major hardware contracts for these projects are likely to be awarded within the next 12 to 18 months, the report said. Another 143 floater projects are in the planning or study phase. Major hardware contracts for these projects are likely in the 2013 to 2018 timeframe.


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