FPSO (Floating Production Storage Offloading) vessels are ideally suited for development of remote-region projects because tankers and onsite storage are needed to transport crude oil to markets. Even for the basins where pipelines are eventually built, an FPSO can still serve as an early production system to reduce project risk and improve project cash flow. Therefore, an FPSO offers an attractive solution to deepwater fields in the Arctic where fixed platforms are not feasible from either technical or commercial perspectives.
The technical feasibility of an arctic FPSO depends on ice and iceberg conditions. In iceberg infested water, the arctic FPSO needs to be disconnectable to avoid collisions with incoming icebergs. Even without the presence of icebergs, an Arctic FPSO may need to be disconnectable due to the limits of stationkeeping capacity of its mooring system. Design of a disconnectable mooring system becomes significantly more challenging than a permanent one because of the additional requirement of load transfer, disconnected subsea system, disconnections and reconnections. These requirements often conflict with the ones of flow assurance, topside layout, ventilation and fire protection. These conflicting requirements are discussed and technology gaps are identified in this paper.