More than half of the world’s FPSOs are over 30-years-old

Data released yesterday from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) shows just how ancient the world’s floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) fleet is.

More than half of the world’s FPSOs are over 30-years-old and a quarter are over 40-years-old, according to ABS, which classes nearly 60% of this niche fleet.

With this ageing profile, ABS is working with a range of flags, energy majors and the US Coast Guard to tackle a range of FPSO safety issues.

“The challenges surrounding maintenance and structural fitness of ageing FPSOs is not just a class concern; rather, it is an industry challenge that requires the involvement and cooperation of all of the industry players,” said Christopher Wiernicki, the chairman of ABS.

Among the companies working with ABS is FPSO operator Modec whose deputy chief technology officer, Koichi Matsumiya, commented: “We should recognise that offshore production facilities, which have only 50-years history, are not identical to ships, which have already matured over 6,000 years. It is important to humbly learn how to maintain the integrity of our FPSOs for long design lives through trial and error and continuously incorporate new learnings into future FPSOs, including class rules.”

ABS data shows a total of 55 FPSO units in the global fleet are reaching the end of their design life in the next five years, a further five already have life extension in place, with a further 19 currently being evaluated for life extension.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


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