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    China Launches Its First "Floating Oil Factory"

    June 19, 2023
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    China has launched its first floating production storage and offloading unit (FPSO) with a land-sea integrated operating system that uses multiple technologies to operate including edge computing, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The vessel eliminates the need for pipelines running from land to offshore oil rigs as it is capable of processing oil and gas while at sea. The new FPSO has a storage capacity of 100,000 tons.

    Boasting more than 8,000 sensors, the FPSO can monitor multiple metrics including liquid level, temperature, and pressure along with other data which is transmitted to a server room. Meanwhile, a thousand kilometers away in Shenzhen City, an onshore virtual replica of the ship will be used to monitor production in real time at a smart control center for the vessel.

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    The floating platforms have become increasingly popular in recent months as the demand for LNG floating storage and regasification units (LNG-FSRUs) rose drastically as Europe faced an energy crisis headed into winter. The sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines also increased demand for FPSOs as the LNG supply from Russia was abruptly halted leaving dozens of European countries relying on FSRUs and portable floating LNG terminals for their natural gas supply.

    Internationally, there are currently 48 FSRUs in operation and, according to Rystad Energy, all but 6 of the vessels are already locked into term charters.

    Thus far, the EU has plans to add up to 19 new FSRU projects, each with a projected cost of €9.5 billion.

    The increase in the need for FSRUs will greatly benefit South Korea as it is currently the global leader in the FSRU industry. While Beijing just launched its first FPSO, Seoul recently built its first ammonia FSRU.



    Jen Snow

    Jen Snow is a former paralegal turned freelance writer who has a passion for foreign affairs. When not writing, she can be found curled up with her dog and a good book or outside playing in the Florida sun.
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