Floating production systems

Seatrium Delivers Whale FPU to Shell

The Whale floating production unit, comprising a topside module and a semisubmersible hull, is a near-twin to the previously delivered Vito facility.

The Whale FPU was officially delivered to Shell on 19 October.
SOURCE: Seatrium

Seatrium Limited, the merged name of Sembcorp Marine and Keppel Offshore & Marine, successfully delivered the Whale floating production unit (FPU) to supermajor Shell for deployment in the US Gulf of Mexico (GOM).

The completed Whale FPU comprises a topside module and a four-column semisubmersible floating hull of over 22,000 tonnes delivered on time and within budget.

The integration of Whale’s topsides and hull was accomplished in a single lift using Seatrium’s Goliath twin cranes with a combined 30,000-tonne lifting capacity and a 100-m hook height.

The hull structure of Whale was fabricated in Seatrium’s steel fabrication facility, powered by renewable solar energy, resulting in reduced carbon emissions during the construction process.

The FPU was dry towed to the US GOM onboard the heavy transport ship Boka Vanguard and arrived at Kiewit Offshore in Ingleside, TX on 21 October. The semi-submersible will ultimately be installed at the Whale field in Alaminos Canyon Block 773.

Shell reached FID on Whale in July 2021. The Whale development is owned by Shell Offshore (60% operator) and Chevron (40%). The project is expected to reach peak production of approximately 100,000 BOE/D and currently has an estimated, recoverable resource volume of 490 million BOE.

Discovered in 2017, the Whale development will feature 15 oil-producing wells tied into the FPU.

Sembcorp Marine delivered the Vito FPU in January 2022. The facility is now producing on location in Mississippi Canyon block 984 in the deepwater US GOM.

The Whale delivery comes on the heels of Seatrium signing a letter of intent for a third FPU for Shell. The yard will carry out construction work related to the Sparta project, also in the US GOM. The Sparta facility is expected to replicate much of the Vito and Whale design. It comprises a single topsides module supported by a four-column semisubmersible floating hull.

Shell and Equinor are expected to make a final investment decision (FID) on Sparta prior to year end. A final contract award to Seatrium is subject to that FID.

Sparta, formerly known as North Platte, was discovered by Cobalt Energy in 2012. The field is in the Garden Banks area of the US GOM across blocks 915, 916, 958, and 959, in approximately 1300 m of water.