Note: This study was part of a broader DeepStar Project “Global Performance of Deepwater Structures – Post Model Test Study and Guideline Development.”
To date, deepwater (more than 3,000-foot water depth) reserves in the Gulf of Mexico have been developed primarily with the following types of production systems: Spars; Tension Leg Platforms (TLP’s); and Subsea Well Systems tied back to these floating systems or to shallow water jackets that may also serve as hubs for other deepwater production systems (Hub/Host Jacket). All three of these types of systems rely on pipelines to transport oil to shore. A potentially attractive alternative to these systems is a tanker-based Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) system with oil transportation to shore via shuttle tankers. Floating Production Storage and Offloading systems have been used in many areas of the world, but not the Gulf of Mexico.
The Minerals Management Service (MMS) funded the Offshore Technology Research Center (a National Science Foundation engineering research center located at Texas A&M University and The University of Texas at Austin), with EQE International, Inc. as a subcontractor, to conduct a Comparative Risk Analysis (CRA). The purpose of this study was to assess and compare the system risks for FPSO’s with those for existing deepwater production systems, specifically TLP’s, Spars and Hub/Host Jackets. This study was conducted concurrently with an Environmental Impact Statement study for FPSO’s in the Gulf of Mexico (MMS 2000c). Information from both the Comparative Risk Analysis and the Environmental Impact Statement
will be used by the MMS in developing policies concerning the use of FPSO’s in the Gulf of Mexico.
The primary objectives of the Comparative Risk Analysis were the following:
- Assess and compare the system risks for FPSO’s with those for existing deepwater
production systems, specifically Spars, TLP’s and Hub/Host Jackets; and
- Understand the contributions to system risk by subsystems and phases of operation.
Related Publications: Gilbert, R. B. and Ward, E. G. (2000), “Planned Approach for Comparative Risk Analysis of Deepwater Production Systems in the Gulf of Mexico,” Proceedings of OMAE 2000: 19thInternational Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Gilbert, R. B., Ward, E. G., Wolford, A. J., (2001), “Deepwater Production System Risks”, Proceedings, 11th International Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference, ISOPE, Vol. IV, Stranger, Norway, June, pp 654-659.
Gilbert, R. B., Ward, E. G., Wolford, A. J. (2001), “A Comparative Risk Analysis of FPSO’s with Other Deepwater Production Systems in the Gulf of Mexico”, Offshore Technology Conference, (OTC 13173), Houston, April.
Gilbert, R. B., Ward, E. G. and Wolford, A. J., “Assessment of Oil Spill Risk for Shuttle Tankers in the Gulf of Mexico”, Safety & Reliability, The Safety and Reliability Society, Vol. 21, No. 2, 80-105.