Floating production storage and offloading – FPSO

A floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit is a floating vessel used by the offshore oil and gas industry for the production and processing of hydrocarbons, and for the storage of oil. A FPSO vessel is designed to receive hydrocarbons produced by itself or from nearby platforms or subsea template, process them, and store oil until it can be offloaded onto a tanker or, less frequently, transported through a pipeline. FPSOs are preferred in frontier offshore regions as they are easy to install, and do not require a local pipeline infrastructure to export oil. FPSOs can be a conversion of an oil tanker or can be a vessel built specially for the application. A vessel used only to store oil (without processing it) is referred to as a floating storage and offloading (FSO) vessel.

Recent developments in LNG industry require relocation of conventional LNG processing trains into the sea to unlock remote, smaller gas fields that would not be economical to develop otherwise, reduce capital expenses, and impact to environment. Emerging new type of FLNG facilities will be used. Unlike FPSOs apart of gas production, storage and offloading, they will also allow full scale deep processing, same as onshore LNG plant has to offer but squeezed to 25% of its footprint.[ First 3 FLNG’s are under construction (as at 2016): Prelude FLNG (Shell), PFLNG1 and PFLNG2 (Petronas).


Oil produced from offshore production platforms can be transported to the mainland either by pipeline or by tanker. When a tanker is chosen to transport the oil, it is necessary to accumulate oil in some form of storage tank, such that the oil tanker is not continuously occupied during oil production, and is only needed once sufficient oil has been produced to fill the tanker.


Floating production, storage and offloading vessels are particularly effective in remote or deep water locations, where seabed pipelines are not cost effective. FPSOs eliminate the need to lay expensive long-distance pipelines from the processing facility to an onshore terminal. This can provide an economically attractive solution for smaller oil fields, which can be exhausted in a few years and do not justify the expense of installing a pipeline. Furthermore, once the field is depleted, the FPSO can be moved to a new location.[


A Floating Storage and Offloading unit (FSO) is essentially a simplified FPSO, without the capability for oil or gas processing. Most FSOs are converted single hull supertankers. An example is Knock Nevis, ex Seawise Giant, which for many years was the world’s largest ship. It was converted into an FSO for offshore use before being scrapped.

At the other end of the LNG logistics chain, where the natural gas is brought back to ambient temperature and pressure, specially modified ships may also be used as floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs). A LNG floating storage and regasification unit receives liquefied natural gas (LNG) from offloading LNG carriers, and the onboard regasification system provides natural gas exported to shore through risers and pipelines.

  1. FSO, Floating Storage and Offloading
  2. FPSO, Floating Production, Storage and Offloading
  3. FDPSO, Floating, Drilling and Production, Storage and Offloading
  4. FSRU, Floating Storage Regasification Unit.

How Do FPSOs Work?

Rigzone. Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessels, or FPSOs, are offshore production facilities that house both processing equipment and storage for produced hydrocarbons.

How many FPSO are there in the world?

FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) and FSO (Floating Storage and Offloading) systems today have become the primary method for many offshore oil and gas producing regions around the world. Currently, there are approximately 180 FPSOs and 100 FSOs in operation worldwide.

What is a FPSO vessel?

A floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit is a floating vessel used by the offshore oil and gas industry for the production and processing of hydrocarbons, and for the storage of oil.

How do floating oil rigs work?

Floating production system: As oil companies expand into ever-deeper waters, they’ve had to embrace less traditional methods of getting oil up to the surface. This often means deepwater rigs are buoyant and semisubmersible, floating partly above the surface while pumping up oil from deep wells.

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