The Foinaven oilfield is located in blocks 204 / 19 and 204 / 24a, which are operated by BP Exploration. Shell UK Exploration and Production is the co-venturer.
These blocks lie 190km west of the Shetland Islands, in a water depth of between 400m and 600m. Recoverable reserves are estimated to be in the region of 250 million-600 million barrels of oil.
The Foinaven project was carried out as a phased development. The first of these were based on the recovery of 200 millions barrels within Foinaven. These developments centre on subsea wells completed on the seabed. They produce oil, via a manifold, which passes through rigid flowlines and then flexible risers into a floating production, storage and offloading system (FPSO), which is permanently stationed in the field. Shuttle tankers then export the crude oil.
FPSO Petrojarl IV
Foinaven’s FPSO Petrojarl IV was built in Finland by PGS Production by converting Anadyr, a Russian submarine tender ship. The vessel underwent a major rebuilding programme involving the removal of the bow and stern, which were upgraded and attached to a new mid-section of a double-skinned hull, thereby increasing its length to 240m.
The FPSO has the capacity to process up to 95,000 barrels of oil per day and to inject 165,000 barrels of water per day into the reservoir. Gas lift and re-injection were available from first oil.
The vessel’s ten anchors enable it to maintain stationary, even in the most severe weather conditions. The anchor wires, and up to 15 flexible risers and control umbilicals reach the surface inside a turret. The vessel ‘weathervanes’ around this turret, under the influence of the wind, waves and currents, with thruster assistance to aid station-keeping.
Shuttle tankers visit approximately every three days during peak production periods and storage for some 300,000 barrels of produced oil are available onboard the FPSO.
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