Future focus

Jennifer Pallanich
Sunday, May 1, 2011

For Fluor, America is only one land of opportunity. Recent contract wins for work offshore Australia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East have buoyed Fluor's backlog. Jennifer Pallanich talks to Fluor executives about recent contract wins and Fluor's offshore strategy.

Fluor has been focused on growth in Australia in both the petroleum and mining industries, notes Victor Vann, VP of sales for Fluor Offshore Solutions. Just this year, he says, the company has won two ‘very significant projects' in Australia. While Fluor has had a presence in Australia for over 40 years, ‘the energy piece has really picked up in the last year,' says Matthew McSorley, VP of energy and chemicals at Fluor.

Woodside awarded Fluor the front-end engineering and design contract for the Browse field, and Fluor is also involved in Santos' onshore Gladstone LNG project. Fluor announced the FEED win for the Browse LNG project in February. Under the Browse contract, Fluor will be responsible for FEED services for the offshore central processing facility (CPF), including the steel jackets, a compression platform and a utilities accommodation platform. Fluor and McDermott International have teamed up, with Fluor designing the topsides and McDermott designing the steel jackets and float-over installation.

‘The CPF will be the piece that we focus on for the next phase,' Vann says. He notes the regulatory requirements are strenuous, calling for designing for a 1000-year year storm. There will be, he says, unique challenges involved in installing such a heavy topsides on a jacket at that height. ‘We're thinking through all those issues now,' Vann says.

To meet the staffing needs of 150 offshore employees for the project, Fluor will draw on personnel from the Perth, Houston and Manila offices. Fluor expects to wrap up the FEED late this year.

The fields in 400-700m of water are in the Browse Basin off the western coast of Australia. The project calls for either two spars or TLPs, a CPF in 100m of water, over 1200km of subsea pipelines, and an onshore three-train LNG facility in Western Australia.

The three Browse fields are estimated to hold 13.3tcf of dry gas and 360 million barrels of condensate. Woodside anticipates making a final investment decision on the Browse project in mid-2012.

For the US$3.5 billion Gladstone EPC contract, which Fluor announced winning in January 2011, Fluor will handle engineering, procurement, and construction of upstream facilities associated with the onshore 7.8mtpa LNG project (pictured right). The firm had previously carried out the FEED on the project.

‘It involves a lot of logistics and coordination of keeping the sequence of the wells and extraction of the wells and working closely with Santos, Total, Pertronas and Korean Gas,' McSorley says about the phased GLNG project.

As far as the Middle East goes, Fluor announced backto- back FEED contracts from Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Co last May. The first was for the Satah Al-Razboot (SARB) full field development project, which includes an untapped oil field that will prospectively pump 100,000b/d. The facilities are located about 120km off the northwest coast of Abu Dhabi City. Under that contract, Fluor is responsible for designing offshore wellhead facilities, subsea and in-field pipelines as well as onshore work including receiving, processing, storage and support facilities, and the supporting utilities and infrastructure.

The second FEED was for offshore facilities located at the Umm Lulu field about 30km northwest of Abu Dhabi in the Arabian Gulf. The Umm Lulu Phase II field development includes six wellhead towers, production facilities, living quarters, infield subsea pipelines and the export pipeline to Zirku Island. The project will tie into ADMA-OPCO's SARB project, for which Fluor also has the FEED, for further processing at the Zirku Island facilities.

Vann expects Fluor to complete the Umm Lulu FEED this summer and to bid for the next phase. ‘Being part of the FEED gives us a better understanding of the projects,' he adds.

Not only that, he says, being involved in the FEED can give the company a better idea of which company to partner with when bidding during the EPC phase. McSorley notes Fluor looks at different companies for each region when seeking partners. For the Middle East projects, Vann notes, Fluor is working on partnering with fabricators and installers.

One focus in the Middle East FEED efforts, McSorley says, is to improve the value of the projects for the client. Fluor is doing this through ‘value engineering' and proposing certain routings, he says.

Vann notes Fluor is providing the same services for its other projects, such as the Browse FEED. Typically, he says, Fluor will bring forward ideas to the client along with calculations of what the ideas cost to install and the value they will provide, so the client can make an informed decision. ‘The clients see a lot of value in the process we go through,' Vann says.

He says the company has ‘more credibility' now that it has split the upstream and offshore services into a distinct business line. ‘We don't want to grow too fast, too quickly to avoid any potential stumbles along the way,' he says.

Even with that as a given, McSorley notes many opportunities are cropping up. ‘We're going to continue to focus on the opportunities' in Australia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Trinidad. ‘We want to get our bases covered well in those regions and start going out from there.' OE

Categories: Production Middle East LNG Engineering Design Asia

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