Oil & Gas

Shell Penguins FPSO finally set to leave China for North Sea

The Shell (LON: SHEL) Penguins FPSO – the oil giant’s first new manned vessel in UK waters for 30 years – is finally due to head to the North Sea.

China’s Offshore Oil Engineering Company (COOEC) has completed construction of the cylindrical FPSO, and held a delivery ceremony yesterday at Qingdao in east China’s Shandong Province.

It’s understood the vessel, which stands at 118 metres tall, is due to depart imminently.

Chinese state media have released photos of the completed vessel, weighing 32,000 tonnes, which will serve the Penguins redevelopment in the UK North Sea.

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Construction got underway on the FPSO in 2018 following a final investment decision.

It had been due to leave China in March 2021, but Covid lockdown delays have hit the timeline.

Shell chief financial officer Sinead Gorman told journalists earlier this year that the work was “progressing well”.

Redevelopment of former Brent Charlie tieback

Penguins is a redevelopment of a field which was first developed in 2002.

It used to produce via the Brent Charlie hub, which itself ceased production in March 2021.

Sitting 150 miles north-east of Shetland, the new project is expected to unlock 80 million barrels of oil, Shell said at the time of investment decision in 2018, which would have otherwise been left stranded as Brent Charlie shuts down.

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The FPSO is expected to deliver peak production of 45,000 barrels per day.

Between 50 and 70 people will work on board the new vessel once it is up and running.

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It’s not known how long the vessel will take to reach the UK, meanwhile reports suggest the FPSO will be heading to an unnamed yard in Norway before going to the oilfield.

Shell has previously described the project as a “significant North Sea hub” which will produce “right through until 2040”.

NEO Energy is a 50% partner on the project after buying out ExxonMobil’s stake last year.

Shell released a mini documentary on the final days of Brent Charlie production last year covering its 40-year life, from its economic contribution to the UK economy, to serious safety incidents offshore.



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