SBM Offshore wins OTC ‘Spotlight on New Technology’ award for the innovative FPSO Turritella Turret Mooring System (TMS)

SBM Offshore is honored to announce that it has received the prestigious 2017 OTC Spotlight on New Technology award.

SBM Offshore’s driving force is to be at the forefront of technology development, helping the transformation of the offshore industry. The TMS for the FPSO Turritella is the latest example of how SBM Offshore engages early on with its clients to find innovative, safe and cost-effective solutions. The pioneering TMS for the FPSO Turritella represents a step change for the industry and cements SBM Offshore’s reputation as the leader in turret mooring systems, leveraging over 60 years of experience.

Pushing the boundaries of mooring technologies, the TMS for the FPSO Turritella has resulted in two new world records for FPSO Turritella as:

  • The world’s deepest floating oil and gas production system at 9,500ft (2,900m).
  • The first use of steel lazy wave risers on a disconnectable Turret Mooring System.


To achieve these industry firsts, the project required four enabling technologies to be developed, qualified and incorporated into the TMS design, associated with the disconnectable buoy, the reconnection system and the mooring line tensioning system. See editor’s note (1 & 2).

Accepting the award, SBM Offshore’s Technology Director Andrew Newport commented “Designing a disconnectable mooring system for the world’s deepest floating production unit required innovation and development across a range of systems and technologies, whilst leveraging SBM Offshore’s long experience of turret mooring system design.”

SBM Offshore USA President Stein Rasmussen added “We are proud to have played a part in helping our client  safely and competitively pioneer a new frontier of deepwater oil and gas production. This is SBM Offshore’s first FPSO in the Gulf of Mexico, where we operate Turritella for our client. The future of deepwater developments depends on new technology and we are proud to play a key role with our clients in unlocking these new frontiers.”




Editor notes

1. A key necessity for the FPSO is to be able to face the severe meteorological conditions of the Gulf of Mexico. Incorporating the world’s largest disconnectable buoy, the TMS enables the FPSO to weathervane in normal conditions and to quickly disconnect from the buoy and safely sail away prior to perilous weather impacting. The reconnection capability allows the FPSO to quickly resume production once the hurricane has passed the location. The need for this kind of development had been anticipated by SBM Offshore for some time with research showing that exploitation from deep water plays an increasingly significant role in the oil and gas market of the future.

2. The TMS for the FPSO Turritella project required four enabling technologies to be developed, qualified and incorporated into the design:

a. Firstly, as a consequence of the ultra-deep water and high pressure steel risers, the disconnectable buoy was much larger than used on any previous Turret Mooring System.  The developed solution used syntactic foam blocks rather than traditional steel plate for the buoy construction.

b. Secondly, to mate the massive buoy with the turret during reconnection, a novel heave compensation system was developed for pull-in operations.

c. Thirdly, to connect the buoy to the turret a series of high capacity structural connectors were required, with capacities well above anything available in the industry.

d. Finally, in order to adjust the tension in the mooring legs, an in-line tensioning device was developed and qualified to allow the tension to be adjusted from a work boat. This avoided the need to tension the mooring legs from the buoy and provides a novel means to compensate for any stretch in the polyester mooring legs during the life of the system, allowing future systems to be installed in even deeper water if required.

3. The FPSO is an SBM Offshore Generation 2 design with a design capacity of 60,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) and 15 mmscf/d of gas treatment and export.  No water injection facilities are installed.  The Suezmax hull is able to store 800,000 barrels of crude oil.

4. SBM Offshore began collaborating with our client on the concept and design of the TMS in 2011. EPCI work commenced mid-2013 when SBM Offshore was awarded the supply and lease contracts for the FPSO. Press Release July 23, 2013

5. This is the 6th Spotlight on New Technology award that SBM Offshore has received in seven years.  The previous awards have been for:

  • 2015 – ARCA Chain Connector
  • 2014 – Very High Pressure (VHP) Swivel
  • 2013 – Drilling Riser Trip Saver
  • 2011 – HV Electric Swivel
  • 2011 – COOL Hose