Drydocks, Aker Solutions JV Pens Deal to Upgrade FPSO for Equinor's Rosebank Field

Petrojarl Knarr - Credit: Aker Solutions (file photo)
Petrojarl Knarr - Credit: Aker Solutions (file photo)

Dubai's shipbuilding and shiprepair company Drydocks World and Norwegian offshore engineering and construction firm Aker Solutions have established a joint venture to upgrade the Petrojarl Knarr FPSO for Equinor's Rosebank offshore oil and gas field in the UK, the Government of Dubai media office confirmed Friday.

The joint venture signed its first contract with FPSO owner Altera Infrastructure to upgrade, refurbish, and electrify the FPSO. The vessel will be redeployed at Rosebank field, with the upgrades allowing it to be kept in the field for 25 years without drydocking.

The news of the planned joint venture formation for the Rosebank was first reported back in January.

According to the Dubai government's media agency, the contract was officially signed in Dubai at DP World’s Head Office by Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World and Chairman of Drydocks World, Sturla Magnus, Executive Vice President, Topsides and Facilities at Aker Solutions and Arne Hygen Tørnkvist, EVP of Altera Infrastructure.

Aker Solutions will be in charge of the detailed design and buying of equipment in Norway, while Drydocks World will be responsible for the fabrication and construction work at its yard in Dubai. 

The Petrojarl Knarr is currently at the Aker Solutions yard in Norway and will remain there until it is towed to Dubai, later in 2023. The engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) work is planned for completion by the end of 2025.

Petrojarl Knarr was built by Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea and delivered in 2014. It was operating on the Knarr field offshore Norway from 2015 until May 2022. 

The FPSOs next destination, Rosebank is a UK oil and gas field about 130 kilometers off the coast of the Shetland Islands with an estimated 300 million barrels of potentially recoverable reserves. 

Equinor acquired operatorship of Rosebank with the acquisition of Chevron's 40% stake in 2019 and has since been working to optimize and mature a development solution for the field, originally discovered in 2004, together with partners Suncor and Ithaca Energy.

Chevron's sale to Equinor marked its full exit from the project, for which it had planned to deploy a newbuild FPSO with a 100,000 b/d oil, 80 mmcf/d gas production capacity, with storage for about 1 million barrels. This was to be the deepest moored facility on the UK Continental Shelf. Before the sale to Equinor, Chevron had planned to have the field online in 2024.

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