(EnergyAsia, October 27, Tuesday) — Keppel Shipyard Limited, a unit of Singapore’s Keppel Offshore & Marine, said it is on track to deliver the first floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel for the US Gulf of Mexico to BW Pioneer Ltd, an affiliate of Oslo-listed BW Offshore. The vessel, BW Pioneer, will be turret-moored at a water depth of about 2,600 metres, by far the deepest for an FPSO.

Keppel said it has achieved an impressive safety record of more than four million incident-free man-hours working on the vessel. BW Pioneer has been leased by Petrobras America Inc, a unit of the Brazilian oil and gas company, to operate in the Cascade and Chinook fields of the US Gulf of Mexico, with production scheduled for the first quarter of 2010.

The FPSO has a storage capacity of about 600,000 barrels of oil, a process capacity of 80,000 b/d and gas export facilities of 16 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd).

Designed to handle the harsh operating conditions in the Gulf of Mexico, BW Pioneer is equipped with an internal disconnectable submerged turret production (STP) mooring system and outfitted with advanced safety features to withstand environmental loads from currents, waves and wind. In the event of an approaching hurricane, this highly advanced safety feature will allow the FPSO to disengage from site and move on its own propulsion for sheltered waters.

Carl Arnet, BW Offshore’s CEO, said: “The successful conversion of BW Pioneer is an important milestone for us. Being the first contractor to place an FPSO in the weather-exposed US Gulf of Mexico gives BW Offshore a seal of quality and strengthens our position and track record as a leader in the region.

“The high level of quality and safety achieved on this pioneering project are the result of our strong partnership with Keppel Shipyard. I am confident that BW Pioneer will set the standard for FPSOs operating in the US Gulf of Mexico.”

Tong Chong Heong, CEO of Keppel Offshore & Marine, said: “Working with trend-setting customers over the years, Keppel Shipyard has achieved many ‘firsts’ in the industry for complex vessel conversions. BW Pioneer is yet another groundbreaking vessel, which we are proud to add to our track record.

“We would like to thank BW Offshore for entrusting Keppel Shipyard with this significant project. Together with our valued customer, we have overcome the challenges of completing a unique FPSO for the US Gulf of Mexico. We look forward to further our relationship with BW Offshore and support them in developing their premium fleet.”

This is the second FPSO Keppel has delivered to BW Offshore this year. FPSO BW Cidade de Sao Vicente which also achieved a zero incident safety record was delivered earlier this year as an early well test FPSO for the gigantic Tupi deepwater field in Brazil.

Keppel Shipyard has constructed a record of more than 80 FPSO and FSO conversion and upgrading projects.

Listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, BW Offshore is one of the world’s leading FPSO contractors and a market leader in advanced offshore loading and production systems in the oil and gas industry with 25 years’ experience and a solid track record.