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Sea Transport of FPSO Topside Modules: Managing the Legal Risks

Sea Transport of FPSO Topside Modules: Managing the Legal Risks

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Sea Transport of FPSO Topside Modules: Managing the Legal Risks

76 pagine
39 minuti
Jun 18, 2020


This handbook comprises the project planning and legal risk management for the sea transport of a topside module from a contractor's yard to a shipyard in a different locality or state.



Jun 18, 2020

Informazioni sull'autore

The author graduated from the University of London and completed his legal education at Lincoln’s Inn, UK in 1982. He began his legal career in commercial, shipping and admiralty practice. Thereafter, he joined the shipbuilding and offshore industry. He was vice-president of contracts for Yantai Raffles Shipyard where he concluded many shipbuilding contracts with international counterparts. He then joined US sub-sea contractors, Global Industries where he provided legal advice and support for tenders, contracts, charter parties, agreements for marine construction, special service and deep sea diving operation. Thereafter, he was local representative and contract advisor for Petroserv S.A during the conversion phase of FDPSO Dynamic Producer (for Pipa II Project, Brazil). He was on the panel of commercial/legal experts at the 6th FPSO Annual Conference organized by IBC Asia. LinkedIn: Blog:

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Anteprima del libro

Sea Transport of FPSO Topside Modules - David Seah


What is an FPSO?

FPSO stands for floating production storage and offloading vessel. It could be a purpose-built new vessel or a converted oil tanker equipped with hydrocarbon processing equipment for separation and treatment of crude oil, water and gases. The oil is then processed and stored until it can be transferred to a shuttle tanker for shipment to oil refineries.

The main components in an FPSO include the topside modules, main deck, helipad, equipment and machinery, HVAC, pipes, electrical and instrumentation systems, turret, mooring systems and accommodation.

Topside Modules

Topside modules are integrated on the deck of an FPSO to form a complete production facility, comprising:


Power Generation

Process System



Gas Compression

As such, one of the significant activity during an FPSO conversion project is the fabrication, delivery and installation of the topside modules onto the deck of the FPSO.

Chapter 1. Background

An FPSO conversion project between an FPSO owner and a shipyard from different jurisdictions is in progress. Under the terms of their contract, the shipyard must convert and modify a tanker into a fully classed and certified FPSO.

The scope of work includes the demolition, relocation, repairs, replacements, modifications, addition or installations of new items.

Some examples include structural and hull modification, demolition and relocation of electrical, telecommunication, instrumentation, HVAC and piping systems, installation, integration and commissioning of modules and other items, fabrication of stools to support the modules, hull blasting, painting, disposal of scraps and others.

Under the contract, FPSO owner has the right to supply the topside modules, specified equipment and items fabricated by other contractors.

Separately, FPSO owner has also entered into a module construction agreement with a contractor, whose yard is located in a different locality or state away from the shipyard. When the construction of the module has been completed, the FPSO owner is obligated to take delivery of the module from the contractor’s yard.

FPSO owner plans to transport the module from the contractor’s yard to the shipyard by sea.  The sequent of events (hereinafter called the load-out operation) will be as follows: (a) the module will be lifted onto a barge by a floating crane and a tug will tow the barge to the shipyard, and (b) upon arrival at the shipyard the floating crane will lift the module onto the FPSO. The planning and execution of the load-out operation are discussed below.

Chapter 2. Planning

To ensure that the load-out operation is executed safely and seamlessly, FPSO owner will have to consider the following:

What should be included in the project plan?

How will the module be transported to the FPSO?

What are the technical requirements?

What are the key participants’ obligations?

The project plan will be based on the following assumptions.

The completed module is suitable for loading and unloading, lifting and sea transportation. The calculation for the pad-eye or lifting point will be revised by the module designer based on the actual weight of the fully constructed module.

The wharf and adjacent sea depth at the contractor’s yard are suitable for mooring of barge, tug and floating crane and the lifting operation. The

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