Tullow Oil plc has said its technical investigation of the condition of the turret bearing on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah has confirmed that the bearing has been damaged and is no longer able to rotate as originally designed.
Oil production and gas export can continue, the Jubilee partner said, but under revised operating and off-take procedures.
It said a root cause analysis is ongoing and a project team is assessing which long-term remediation option is most appropriate. Initial feasibility studies by the team have confirmed that the bearing issue can be fully resolved.
The FPSO Kwame Nkrumah has now been placed on “heading control” through the use of tugs, which minimise vessel movement around the bearing.
Tullow said in its recent operational update on the Jubilee Field, further to its release of 18 February, that new operating procedures, including the use of a dynamically-positioned shuttle tanker (capacity of 250,000 barrels of oil) and a storage tanker (capacity of 1 million barrels of oil), are being implemented to assure safe production and off-take operations.
Tullow said although all necessary equipment for the new operating procedures, including the two tankers, are in place, “it is important that additional time and due care was taken to implement new procedures and receive required approvals”.
Tullow said safety and protecting the environment remain its key priorities. The oil firm said it currently estimates that production from the FPSO will re-start in approximately two weeks’ time and will also take time to ramp up. It said its production guidance will be re-issued once the new operating arrangements have stabilised.
Tullow said it has a comprehensive package of insurances in place, including Hull and Machinery insurance, procured on behalf of the Joint Venture, which covers relevant operating and capital costs associated with damage to the FPSO, and Business Interruption insurance, which covers consequent loss of production and revenue.
“Claims under both policies have been notified to our insurers”.
Speaking on the latest update, Paul Mcdade, Chief Operating Officer said in a statement that: “We are focused on resolving this issue with the bearing on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah in a timely and safe manner. We have appointed a highly experienced project team to work on a permanent solution while our operations team continues to ensure we have in place safe and sustainable arrangements for production from the field. Given the ability to continue production and because we have the appropriate insurance policies in place, we do not expect that this issue will have a material impact on our revenue.”
The FPSO has been undergoing “routine” maintenance since March 20. Ghanaian authorities have said it will come back on stream on Saturday April 9.