After nearly three years in dry dock, the Voyageur Spirit FPSO has now departed the UK for overhaul in Dubai ahead of redeployment with Eni off Cote d’Ivoire.
Kishorn Port Ltd (KPL) bid farewell to the Voyageur Spirit this week, as the vessel completed its layup at the site on Scotland’s west coast after almost three years.
The cylindrical floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) left the port on Sunday 9 April bound for Dubai, KPL confirmed on Thursday.
While details on its potential redevelopment and/or redeployment remain scarce, recent reports suggest the vessel will be refurbished and redeployed for use in the second phase of development at the Eni-led Baleine oil and gas project off Cote d’Ivoire.
Vessel owner Altera Infrastructure and Eni have both been approached for comment.
KPL said the vessel was floated onto the heavy load carrier Xin Yao Hua – believed to be the largest vessel ever to visit the port in its history – for its journey to the Middle East.
The Bahamian-flagged Voyageur Spirit was built by Raffles in 2008. It weighs in at over 45,000 tonnes, and measures 70m by 65m wide.
It previously served Premier Oil’s Huntington field until its cessation of production in 2020, at which point it was towed to Kishorn – where it has remained since.
KPL director Alasdair Ferguson said: “It has been a great project for the port and the onsite team, once again demonstrating the ports outstanding capabilities and a great testament to our ability to look after all the needs of a warm-stacked vessel, such as the ‘Voyageur Spirit’, and providing all the services required.”
The redeveloped port has secured major work for vessel anchorage, maintenance and support in recent years, hosting the mammoth Ocean GreatWhite semi-submersible drilling rig and presently working on one of the largest jack-up rigs in the world, the Noble Intrepid, for inspection, maintenance, and repair.
The Northern Producer is also anchored at the site, earmarked for recycling in due course.
At peak activity in recent times, projects at the port have supported 350–400 jobs, directly or indirectly, KPL said.
The port and its backers Leith Scotland and Ferguson Transport & Shipping said they extend their “best wishes and a safe onward journey” for the vessel and crew.
News of the Voyageur Spirit’s redeployment comes just days after another vessel, the Firenze FPSO, left Dubai for deployment as part of the first phase of development at Baleine.
The field holds around 2.5 billion barrels of oil in place and 3.3 trillion cubic feet of gas. Eni has said the development will be Africa’s first scope 1 and 2 emission net zero projects.
In an interview last week the Italian energy giant’s chief operating officer of natural resources Guido Brusco said the Voyageur Spirit will now be refurbished at Drydocks World Dubai before sailaway next year.
“The tender process is completed. The FPSO is currently in Scotland and in June this year it will arrive in Dubai and sail away in July 2024,” he said.
The plan is then to bring the second phase on stream by the end of 2024.
The upgraded vessel will be designed to handle 40,000 bpd of oil and 45 million cubic feet per day of gas from eight wells, though Eni intends to secure another FSO vessel to provide additional storage capacity for phase two.
Reports suggest it would be the first time that an FPSO with a cylindrical hull will be used in African waters.
Eni made a final investment decision on the project’s second phase in December, with Mr Brusco noting that Altera’s FPSO offered “a very cost-effective proposition”.
The contract represents another win for Altera following its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings at the beginning of the year.
The group, which has its head office in Westhill just outside Aberdeen, completed a restructure which converted more than $1bn of debt into company equity.
All-told, the new deal covers over $1bn of company debt, $550m of secured asset-level bank debt and $400m of equity.
The company hopes its fortunes will be further buoyed by a deal with Equinor for the Petrojarl Knarr vessel, eyed for deployment at the Rosebank field.