This past December  Suncor’s Terra Nova Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel and crew safely arrived in Ferrol, Spain after a 15 day, 2,000 nautical mile trip across the North Atlantic.

It’s part of the work underway to extend the life of the vessel by another decade.

As you can imagine, sailing an FPSO that’s over three-foot ball fields long and 18 stories high across one of the world’s largest oceans is no ordinary task. Smooth sailing was thanks to operational readiness and execution planning. Top on the list was successful completion of a three-month maintenance and voyage readiness campaign in Newfoundland and Labrador along with nautical charting. 

The FPSO prepares to enter the Navantia dry dock in Ferrol, Spain.
The FPSO prepares to enter the Navantia dry dock in Ferrol, Spain.

“Given the time of the year, we had to be extra vigilant with charting our route based on forecast, passage plan and estimated speed,” says Barry King, Suncor’s FPSO Captain. “This helped us avoid a very active weather pattern for the first ten days of our trip. It was also the first time the FPSO sailed through high seas as it’s usually secured to a buoy attached to the sea floor while in production. As suspected, the FPSO was very seaworthy as we experienced up to nine metre waves with relatively little movement or issue.”

The voyage crew members included navigation officers to manage critical 24/7 communication with the FPSO’s escort tow vessel. Engineers, operators, and marine trades such as electricians were also onboard to actively monitor and maintain machinery, telecommunications, electrical and power generation systems. 

“We were a small but mighty crew,” says Barry. “Everyone was upbeat and positive throughout the trip - working as one team, pulling in one direction knowing it was helping the entire organization get one step closer to a return to service at Terra Nova.” 

FPSO crew standing in front of the FPSO terra nova in full PPE and masks
Members of the Terra Nova leadership team prepare to bid the FPSO smooth sailing to Spain.

Once in port, the FPSO was carefully hoisted out of the water and into the Navantia dry dock facility. With strong COVID-19 protocols in place, work is now underway to improve the reliability and longevity of the vessel such as on the ship’s hull and swivel unit that’s not easily accessible underwater. 

“I want to recognize everyone involved in reaching these critical steps towards completing the Asset Life Extension project and securing production at Terra Nova for many years to come,” says Josee Tremblay, Vice President, East Coast. 

The FPSO is anticipated to return to the Terra Nova field off the coast of St. John’s, Newfoundland and prepare for a re-connect and a safe return to production before the end of 2022.