PetroSA's ORCA floating production and storage facility to undergo reclassification and refurbishment upgrades at Port of Ngqura
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.
The Orca, PetroSA's floating production and storage facility will from next week be temporarily docked at the Port of Ngqura, Port Elizabeth, for up to twelve months to undergo reclassification and refurbishment upgrades.
The state-of-the-art Orca Floating Production Storage and Offloading Facility (FPSO) has been in the employ of PetroSA and its predecessor, Soekor, since the 1980’s. The 44-year old Orca was originally a drilling rig that underwent conversion into a floating production platform in 1997. Since December 2008 the Orca has been utilized by PetroSA to produce oil from the Oribi/Oryx Oilfields, which are located in Block 9, off South Africa’s southern coast. In that time the Orca has produced 46 800 181 barrels of crude oil.
The Orca will today be towed from its Oribi/Oryx oilfields and is expected to arrive at the Port of Ngqura in the course of next week. It will then be towed into the harbour. To ensure adherence to safety measures, the towing into the harbour will only occur when wind speeds are below 15 knots. This is expected to last for 12 hours.
While at the Port of Ngqura, PetroSA will ensure that the Orca is refitted and refurbished to ensure it meets with all outstanding Special Period Survey (SPS) certification requirements. An SPS licence is a requirement of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). The ABS is one of the world’s leading authorities on the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities. PetroSA is a member of ABS. An ABS-approved licence will ensure the Orca’s class certification is up to date, which will enable the vessel to continue with production activities.
Nosizwe Nokwe-Macamo, PetroSA's Group Chief Executive Officer, said the Orca had served the national oil company well over the period it was in operation on
“We were able to produce 46 million barrels of crude while the Orca was in operation at the Oribi/Oryx oilfields. The facility has served PetroSA well over the years,” Ms Nokwe Macamo said.
“While docked at the Port of Ngqura we will also ensure that we comply with all environmental legislation,” she added.
The Orca will be anchored at the harbour for an initial twelve (12) month period, which can be renewed for another year, if required. This will ensure that it is fully ready for its re-use. PetroSA has entered into a contractual agreement with the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), to berth the vessel at the Port of Ngqura.
While docked at the Port of Ngqura the Orca will not have crude oil on board. It will only have diesel fuel that allows it to run generators. Normal sea growth on the exterior of the Orca will also be removed in a controlled manner, if required, and will not be dumped into the ocean, ensuring no environmental damage occurs.
PetroSA adheres to stringent health, safety and environmental standards that should ensure that the Orca’s voyage from Mossel Bay and its stay at the Port of Ngqura is in line with all legislation governing such matters.