The discovery of a new field in oil industry, the definition of its production capacity and its preparation for production require significant investments and long time.
The 4 most used types of offshore platforms
Beyond the environmental considerations, oil platforms are engineering works of considerable complexity and size. While they may all seem the same to the layman, there are actually different types. Below we illustrate the four most commonly used.
Shallow Water Complex
It is used in shallow waters (max 100-150 meters), and is characterized by several single and independent platforms connected to each other, each with different functions such as extraction and refining.
Gravity Base Complex
These structures are characterized by huge reinforced concrete pillars that rest on the seabed, but without being fixed. Once a suitable support surface has been found, stability is given by the force of gravity and the weight of the platform itself.
They are impressive engineering works, as they rest on a steel tower anchored at depths that can reach 900 meters. They are called “compliant” because they are able to oscillate and follow the movements of the sea, and are therefore suitable for areas subject to hurricanes (such as the Gulf of Mexico for example).
For depths over 450 meters, the steel tower can be reinforced with tensioned cables.
There are three types.
The floating production, storage and unloading unit (the English acronym and FPSO) simply consists of a ship or a floating platform.
It is used for the production and storage of oil or natural gas, and collects crude oil from nearby platforms. It is ideal for those places where it is not possible or convenient to build an oil or gas pipeline to transport fuel.
The second type of floating oil platform is the Tension Leg Platform (TLP), whose stability is maintained by cables fixed to the seabed, which can reach up to 2000 meters.
Finally, the third type is the so-called SPAR, also anchored to the bottom with cables, but resting on a floating cylinder. The seabed can go from 300 to 3000 meters deep.
Many oil plant projects in which Cividac took part, concerned equipment intended for offshore platforms.
Such components always represent a challenge, since they must be designed with maximum compactness, being the space on a platform very limited.