Middle East fabrication yard Drydocks World has completed the upgrade of a floating production, storage and offloading vessel destined for Eni’s major Baleine project offshore Ivory Coast.

At the helm: Eni chief executive Claudio Descalzi. Photo: AP/SCANPIX

Holding 2.5 billion barrels and 3.3 trillion cubic feet of associated gas, the deep-water field is being developed in phases.

Due on stream this June, phase one involves three subsea wells tied back to Saipem’s veteran Firenze FPSO, which has been upgraded in Dubai.

Late last week, Eni and state oil company Petroci held a formal ceremony to mark completion of the refurbishment work, with the event attended by Ivory Coast Mines, Petroleum & Energy Minister Mamadou Sangafowa-Coulibaly, among others.

The FPSO, which will be renamed Baleine after its arrival at location, is designed to treat up to 15,000 barrels per day of oil and around 25 million cubic feet per day of gas.

All the gas will be delivered to shore via a dedicated export pipeline.

The installation of the subsea production system and well completion campaign are underway and production can begin in two month’s time, less than two years after the Baleine discovery was unveiled and only 18 months since the project was sanctioned.

Eni has built a reputation for fast-tracking discoveries to production in recent years.

The Italian major has already made key contracting decisions on phase two, which is due on stream by December 2024, two years after a final investment decision was taken.

Dubai-based Drydocks World deployed 3000 workers on the Firenze upgrade which called for engineering, procurement of bulk material, construction and onshore commissioning support work.

The project also included life-extension and the installation of new equipment to use 100% of produced gas and minimise gas emissions.

The yard fabricated and installed five new modules, while the scope also involved steel, piping, cabling and extensive coating activities of all the FPSO’s cargo and ballast tanks, hull and topsides.

In addition, the Dubai-based yard refurbished the accommodation quarters, helideck, boilers, gas turbine generators, static equipment and process modules, while modifying the bow-mounted turret.

Drydocks World chief executive Rado Antolovic said: “Our teams worked tirelessly to ensure the project was fast-tracked and delivered in just 15 months,” pointing out the yard worked “dynamically” with Saipem “to evolve and adapt the scope of work”.

Baleine straddles blocks CI-101 and CI-802 in the Ivory Coast’s eastern waters, towards the maritime boundary with Ghana.

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