FPSOs - The Market, Biggest Challenges And The Next Big Thing

17 February 2021

Our Business Development Manager based in Singapore, Paul Saunders, shares with us his experience within the FPSO industry and how he’s finding the pandemic has affected the FPSO market; including the restrictions of mobilisation and travel, and how cuts in CAPEX investment has led to interest in FPSO Redeployment.​

  • A bit about yourself – how long have you been working in the Oil and Gas industry, and in Singapore?

My name is Paul Saunders, I started working in the Oil & Gas Industry in 1997 after leaving the armed forces. I began working in Singapore in 2003 and have worked there regularly ever since. Working now for SMS in conjuction with Alderley (the Alderley group).

Working mostly on FPSOs, previous projects include the Terra Papa, Belanak, Peng Bo and Khuff Gas Development Project, where I was responsible for the supervision of Mechanical and Hydraulic Commissioning.

  • For those that don’t know – what are FPSOs and why is the Alderley Group well placed to support this market? 

An FPSO unit is a floating vessel used by the offshore oil and gas industry for the production, processing, storage and offloading of hydrocarbons.

The factors that drive the FPSO market include the flexibility of the total processing and storing facilities built on a ship, with the ability to be connected to any pipeline present on an offshore asset.

Though the Alderley group is UK based, we have a Global footprint with facilities in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore.

Our worldwide facilities bring our expertise closer to our customers, locally supporting the engineering and project delivery to ensure our customers always receive the right solution, on time and from the right place.

  • Are you finding the pandemic has affected the FPSO market?

It is no doubt the Market has been affected for sure with many projects either postponed or delayed, even if the LOI is already signed in some instances.

The road ahead for the industry remains challenging paired with current low oil prices, however it cannot come to a halt and the need for servicing units and FPSO vessels in theory should increase, as an alternative to Operators investing in new capital.

  • What do you think is going to be the next big thing with FPSOs?

Due to the current climate, many Operators have cut CAPEX investment. This has led to an interest in FPSO Redeployment.

The Alderley group recently carried out work on a vessel for a customer in Singapore. This was to convert and extend the life of the existing vessel. A full upgrade on existing systems that were manufactured in 1991 was carried out, contributing to the world’s fastest brownfield FPSO modification and redeployment project in just under a year.

The next big thing for Alderley, in conjunction with SMS, is our digital services offering, including Inspection Manager and Maintenance Manager. These are intuitive, fully digital applications that support technicians and administrators in completing their inspection/maintenance tasks – enhancing inspection efficiency, accuracy, traceability, visibility and security versus traditional paper-based systems.

In addition, our Smart Metering System provides complete certainty, confidence and control for our customers on the performance of their measurement system; wherever they, or their assets, are located around the world.Each development has offers significant benefits for FPSO, onshore and offshore operators.

  • What are the biggest challenges for 2021?

I’d say the biggest challenge for 2021 is mobilisation and travel for service engineers/technicians etc, where many countries have tight border controls with Quarantine logistics and costs etc.

Due to tightened travel restrictions, there is a big manpower shortage on many projects. With Alderley being a global business, we are able to supply services via local engineers and technicians where working visas and travel is not a requirement, for example, from our facility in Singapore.

The Alderley group has also successfully carried out several remote audits in the past months, so even though we are unable to get to site we are still able to provide an extremely valuable service using technology and adapting to the current challenges to best support our customers wherever they are in the world.

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