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Cargo Transfer Vessel: simplifying the transfer of crude oil

2nd Prize - Best Innovators 2020

A project presented by Samuel Cunha, Aymeric Floch, Martin Poirier, Thibault Sabatier & Bertrand Touze

The innovative Cargo Transfer Vessel is pioneering a technique for transferring crude oil that improves efficiency and the cost of offloading from an FPSO in difficult sea and weather conditions.

A new technique for transferring crude oil

The Cargo Transfer Vessel makes it possible to transfer hydrocarbons directly from a floating production facility (FPSO) to a conventional Suezmax-class tanker or VLCC. This system represents a more cost-effective and faster alternative to dynamic positioning shuttle tankers (DPSTs), which until now have been vital in transferring crude from FPSOs to export tankers in difficult sea conditions.

The Cargo Transfer Vessel now enables an export tanker to safely approach an FPSO and receive its cargo directly without utilizing a DPST or requiring the subsequent transfer of crude oil from the DPST to a conventional tanker.

This transfer system, developed for difficult deep offshore environments, can also be used in mature fields to avoid the investment required to install or replace offloading buoys.

More efficient and less costly transfers, consuming less energy

The Cargo Transfer Vessel eliminates the cost of chartering a DPST and the risks involved in its operation, loading and unloading. The process is also safer due to the distance between the FPSO and the tanker being increased from 150 to 400 meters.

Unloading operations are now completed in their entirety (without the subsequent transfer of crude oil) in just two days, a significant reduction in the time taken to bring the hydrocarbons to market.

The Cargo Transfer Vessel is equipped with a hybrid energy production system that considerably reduces its fuel consumption. Greenhouse gas emissions are also reduced.

Cargo Vessel Transfer - Best Innovators 2020 - Exploration & Production - Total

A groundbreaking seaborne concept for transferring hydrocarbons

In developing the Cargo Transfer Vessel, Cefront has ingeniously combined traditional technologies - proven in the field - to achieve dynamic positioning, towing and pumping.

  • The ship is the size of an offshore support vessel, and is equipped with an enhanced Class 2 dynamic positioning system.
  • Its hull has an innovative shape that enables it to function safely as a mobile buoy between the tanker and the FPSO, in vane mode. The vessel can also move with the wind and waves around a fixed point to compensate for weather conditions and enable the oil to be transferred whilst the export tanker is being towed using dynamic positioning.
  • The load collector is positioned on the side of the vessel, which is equipped with three backup pumps.

The Cargo Transfer Vessel is undergoing tests in Brazil's Lapa field

In April 2020, after a comprehensive pre-qualification process and trials in the East China Sea, the Exploration & Production and Trading Shipping teams launched a six-month pilot in the Lapa deep-water pre-salt field operated by TotalEnergies in the Santos Basin.

The Cargo Transfer Vessel should enable us to save on our direct collection costs in Brazil. TotalEnergies has also launched a technical collaboration with local operators to promote the use of this solution in other blocks in the Santos Basin.

Cargo Vessel Transfer - Best Innovators 2020 - Exploration & Production - TotalEnergies