Ithaca’s FPF-1 platform moves a step closer to Stella field

Following months of delays, or now, years of delays, Ithaca Energy’s FPF-1 production platform, to be deployed at the UK North Sea Stella project, seems almost ready to sail away from Poland where it is being built.

Ithaca Energy on Friday said that the “FPF-1” floating production facility has completed the required inclination test as planned and departed the Remontowa shipyard in Gdansk, Poland.

To remind, the contract was awarded to Petrofac in October 2011 to upgrade and modify the FPF-1, with associated cost and vessel performance incentivisation mechanisms. The field development plan for the Greater Stella Area was approved in April 2012, with first oil then scheduled to begin in the second half to 2013. However, this has yet to happen.

According to Ithaca, the FPF-1 unit has now been moved to a deep water location offshore Gdansk to undertake final marine system trials over the course of next week.

Upon completion of these trials, the FPF-1 will start the tow to the Stella field, Ithaca said. Based on available info, it will take the unit around 10 days to arrive from Gdansk to its location in the UK North Sea.

To remind, Ithaca and Petrofac in September last year reached agreement on enhanced incentivization, whereby Ithaca was to pay Petrofac up to $34 million dependent on the timing of sail-away of the 82 m long, 75 m wide and some 30 meters high FPF-1 platform.

The agreement said Petrofac would achieve the maximum payment can be achieved for delivering sail-away of the vessel from the shipyard prior to the end of March 2016, with this incentive payment eroding on a daily basis to zero by July 31, 2016.

As it is now July 22, with the FPF undergoing sea trials, it is unclear if Petrofac will be able to obtain anything from the agreed incentive.

Greater Stella Area

The Ithaca operated Greater Stella Area is located in the heart of the Central Graben area of the Central North Sea, on the UK Continental Shelf. The Greater Stella Area licenses contain the Stella and Harrier fields, approved for development in April 2012.

The development is centered on the drilling of subsea wells tied back to the FPF-1 floating production unit, with the onward transportation of processed hydrocarbons to nearby existing oil and gas export infrastructure.

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