H & W may bid for 10 FPSO rigs


THE Belfast shipyard Harland & Wolff, recently awarded the contract to build a £400 million floating production, storage offshore (FPSO) vessel for the oil company, BP, may have the chance to bid for 10 similar orders before the end of the decade. The shipyard's senior sales manager Mr Brian McGrath said that according to the Department of Trade and Industry, up to 10 FPSOs could be in operation in the North Sea within the next few years.

The contract was won against worldwide competition, and the company believes that it will establish the company in this specialist market. All Harland & Wolf's shipbuilding workers are involved in the hull construction and final assembly of the £400 million vessel, which is expected to be finished towards the end of next year.

The FPSO, which will be stationed off the Shetland Islands, is a relatively recent concept in the exploitation of previously uneconomical deep sea oil fields. It will have a storage capacity of 950,000 barrels of oil, and will be able to process 140,000 barrels a day.