SBM Offshore is set to sign a commercial contract with Chinese yard China Merchant Heavy Industry (CMHI) this weekend to build the hull of a floating production, storage and offloading vessel under the Dutch floater specialist’s Fast4Ward design, Upstream said in an April 4 report.
The unit, which will be the third Fast4Ward hull to be ordered by SMB, could potentially be destined to operate at the Mero 2 pre-salt development off Brazil.
The signing of the engineering, procurement and construction contract would suggest that SBM may have finalised or be close to finalising a deal with Petrobras, which operates Mero 2, for provision of the Mero 2 FPSO, although this could not be confirmed.
Upstream recently reported that SBM is currently going head-to-head against Japanese competitor Modec in a Petrobras tender for the supply of the Mero 2 FPSO.
SBM chief operating officer Philippe Barril did not specify during a recent investor call where the third Fast4Ward hull would be put to work, saying instead it would be open to the market, with numerous customers having expressed an interest in taking the unit.
In early March, SBM confirmed to Upstream that it had placed the order for its third Fast4Ward hull, but did not identify the yard nor finalise the contract.
Sources declined to disclose the size of the third unit, but Fast4Ward’s generic hulls can support topsides designed for processing between 100,000 and around 220,000 barrels per day of liquids and gas treatment capacity of 400 million cubic feet per day, with up to 2 million barrels of storage capacity.
Sources said that SBM will likely to contract the topsides of the floater to be built at CMHI to local yards in Brazil to meet the local content requirements of 40% for engineering, machinery and equipment, as well as construction, integration and assembly.
Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS) won the first and second Fast4Ward hulls from SBM, with the first destined for the ExxonMobil-operated Liza 2 development on the prolific Stabroek block off Guyana.
The first, Liza Unity, is currently in the engineering and procurement phase, with the block partners not yet making a final investment decision on the project – although that is expected imminently. The second was ordered on speculation.
SBM’s Fast4Ward concept aims to make deep-water developments more cost effective by employing standardised designs that the company says can reduce delivery time by as much as one year.