Trials of free drifting FPSOs in the Swan River

RiverLab Project

Trials of free drifting FPSOs in the Swan River


  • Ian Milne
    Research Fellow, Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems

Project Description

The free drifting response of FPSOs is of particular interest to oil and gas operators such as Woodside who have facilities located in tropical cyclone dominated regions and which may be affected by mooring failure. If a free-drifting FPSO ultimately encounters waves at unfavourable directions there is a significant risk to personnel safety and catastrophic failure.  To this end, this project will use the Swan River to investigate the free drifting response of a model FPSO dragging a mooring system. By combining the experimental measurements together with numerical simulations, a greater understanding of the FPSO heading will be attained which will provide important new guidance for operators. 


The project is expected to have significant impact for Woodside who are currently designing new FPSOs and have identified that there is presently limited guidance available for assessing free drifting FPSO scenarios. However, the insights, and experimental methodology are envisaged to be of wide value for the offshore industry with several other operators using similar vessels in the region.