World's First Drilling FPSO Heads to Congo for Azurite Deepwater Operations

The world's first Floating, Drilling, Production, Storage and Offloading vessel (FDPSO), which is owned by Prosafe Production, has left Keppel Shipyard in Singapore on January 24, 2009. After a short stay at anchorage, it will head for the Republic of Congo where it will be deployed at Murphy West Africa Ltd's (a subsidiary of Murphy Oil Corporation) deepwater Azurite development in the Mer Profonde Sud Block.

In November 2007, Prosafe was awarded a $400 million contract for the conversion and operation of a Floating Drilling, Production, Storage and Offloading unit. Named the Azurite, this first of its kind FPSO with drilling capabilities incorporates a design that is cost efficient and effective for drilling and producing deepwater fields.

The vessel is equipped with a modular drilling package that can be removed and reused elsewhere when the production wells have been drilled. The Azurite has a storage capacity of 1.4 million barrels of oil and a process capacity of 60,000 bfpd/40,000 bopd and will be spread-moored at a water depth of 1,400 meters.

Prosafe Production has been responsible for the FPSO conversion, while Murphy West Africa Ltd (Murphy) has been responsible for the drilling scope. After conversion, Prosafe Production is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the vessel, while Murphy is responsible for drilling operations.

Azurite Development, Mer Profonde Sud Block

Murphy’s Mer Profonde Sud Azurite field development is located in 1,400 m (4,600 ft) of water and approximately 80 nautical miles offshore the Republic of Congo. The project consists of a subsea drill center producing back to the FDPSO. Development well drilling and all subsequent work will be performed via a compact rig located on the FDPSO. Product will be off loaded via conventional tanker moored in tandem, and associated gas will be utilized for fuel.