January 2, 2024 [Upstream]- Singapore’s Seatrium has won the contract for the newbuild floating production unit (FPU) for Shell’s Sparta ultra-deepwater field development in the US Gulf of Mexico, for which the operator in December took the final investment decision.
Seatrium on Tuesday confirmed it had been formally awarded a contract to construct and integrate the hull, topsides and living quarters of the Sparta semi-submersible FPU. The contract includes the installation of Shell-furnished equipment and follows the Letter of Intent sealed in late August.
Financial terms of Seatrium’s contract were not divulged.
The Sparta FPU will be situated in the Garden Banks area of the US Gulf of Mexico, approximately 275 kilometres (171 miles) off the coast of Louisiana. It will feature a single topsides bolstered by a four-column, semi-submersible floating hull and is designed for output of 90,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, initially with eight oil and gas producing wells
Production start-up is targeted in 2028 from Sparta, which currently has an estimated, discovered recoverable resource volume of 244 million barrels of oil equivalent.
The floater is conceived as a replicable project between Shell and Seatrium to leverage on the latter’s topsides single lift integration methodology, following its construction of the newbuild facilities for Shell’s Vito and Whale projects, also in the US Gulf.
Sembcorp Marine — renamed Seatrium following its recent acquisition of compatriot Keppel Offshore & Marine — earlier won the contracts for both the Vito and Whale FPUs.
The FPU for Sparta (formerly North Platte) will be able to process up to 100,000 barrels per day of oil and 40 million cubic feet per day of gas.
Upstream earlier reported that the platform will be located in 4350 feet of water and, despite its high oil and gas processing capacity, would have a lightweight topsides of about 9000 tonnes atop a hull of slightly heavier weight.
The Sparta FPU will be based on a design by Australian engineering house Worley, which is supporting Shell through the detailed design and follow-on phases of the project.
Sparta is an ultra-high pressure asset that will require specialist well, subsea and surface equipment to maintain control of production from a reservoir where pressures can hit 20,000 pounds per square inch. The project is Shell’s first development in the Gulf of Mexico to produce from reservoirs with pressures of up to 20,000 psi.
The Sparta development also will be the first of Shell’s replicable projects to feature all-electric topsides compression equipment, which the company said would significantly reducing greenhouse gas intensity and emissions from its own operations.
Shell in December said sanctioning Sparta represents its “competitive approach to simplifying and replicating projects”.
An enhanced version of the four-column semi-submersible host facilities used to exploit the operator’s Whale and Vito fields in the US Gulf, Sparta will replicate about 95% of Whale’s hull and 85% of Whale’s topsides.
Other major contracts for the Sparta project, which are expected to soon be confirmed, include the subsea production systems that have whetted the appetites of contractors including TechnipFMC and Subsea 7.
Shell operates Sparta with a 51% interest and its sole partner is Norway’s Equinor on 49%. The project spans four Outer Continental Shelf blocks in the Garden Banks area of the US Gulf of Mexico.
Vito, which is located in the greater Mars corridor, came on stream last February, while Whale in the Perdido corridor is scheduled for production start-up this year.
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