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“FPSO” stands for Floating Production, Storage and Offloading. An FPSO system is an offshore production facility that is typically ship-shaped and stores crude oil in tanks located in the hull of the vessel. The crude oil is periodically offloaded to shuttle tankers or ocean-going barges for transport to shore. FPSO’s may be used as production facilities to develop marginal oil fields or fields in deepwater areas remote from the existing OCS pipeline infrastructure. Additional details about FPSO’s can be found in OCS Report MMS 2000-015.

FPSO’s have been used to develop offshore fields around the world since the late 1970’s. They have been used predominately in the North Sea, Brazil, Southeast Asian/South China Seas, the Mediterranean Sea, Australia, and off the West Coast of Africa. There are currently 70 FPSO’s in operation or under construction worldwide. In addition to FPSO’s, there have been a number of ship-shaped Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) systems (vessels with no production processing equipment) used in these same areas to support oil and gas developments. One FSO is currently operated by PEMEX in the southern Gulf of Mexico (Bay of Campeche).