Girassol Oil Field is located offshore Angola. (Credit: Koichi Hayakawa/ Flickr)
First oil from Girassol field was achieved in December 2001. (Credit: Jon Olav Eikenes/ Flickr)
Girassol’s FPSO has production treating capacity of 200,000 barrels of oil per day. (Credit: Jossian Brito/ Flickr)

Girassol is an offshore deep water oil field located off the coast of Luanda, Angola. It was discovered in 1996, marking the first major discovery in Block 17.

TotalEnergies operates Block 17 with a 38% stake. Other stakeholders are Equinor (22.16%), ExxonMobil (19%), BP Exploration Angola (15.84%) and Sonangol P&P (5%).

First oil from Girassol field was achieved on 4 December 2001.

The production touched 100,000 barrels of oil per day within a month and further increased to 200,000 barrels of oil per day in less than six weeks. As of November 2018, the rate of production was 220,000 barrels per day.

The offshore field’s recoverable reserves are estimated to be 630 million barrels.

Location details

Girassol field is located in Block 17, around 210km off the coast of Luanda, Angola. It covers an area of 14km by 10km.

Water depths in the region are around 1,400m.

Girassol Field project details

The Girassol field development plan comprised 39 subsea wells including 23 producing wells, 45km of flowlines, 29km of injection lines and 70km of umbilicals. The subsea facility is tied back to a floating production, storage, and offloading unit (FPSO).

The flowlines consisting of eight bundles and ranging from 800-2,900m in length, were made and assembled at the Soyo site in northern Angola.

Subsequently, the flowlines were towed along the seabed to Girassol field and connected to the production equipment. Acoustic beacons and remote-controlled robots were used to conduct the operations.

The flowlines were wrapped in synthetic foam insulation to prevent oil from freezing and maintain its temperature at 40°C. A system of production loops was designed and used for preventing the formation of paraffin and hydrates in the flowlines.

The 800-tonne offshore risers have an outer diameter of almost 60cm and are around 1,650m in length. Constructed at a site in Lobito, these structures offer heat insulation and buoyancy for the system.

The risers were connected to a suction anchor and the buoyancy provided by the ballast float and synthetic foam kept the risers in vertical position.

The risers carry output to the FPSO vessel from the seafloor.

The gas lift system consists of 24 lines feeding six injection points at the riser’s base. It provides a total injection capacity of 800,000 cubic metres of gas per day.

Girassol FPSO

The Girassol FPSO can treat more than 200,000 barrels of oil per day and store two million barrels of crude oil.

It was built Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in 2001 at construction sites in Lobito and Soyo in Angola.

The double-hull design FPSO is connected to subsea wellheads and equipped with a system to treat and separate various effluents such as oil, gas, and water.

Throughout the production phase, the FPSO maintained a systematic process for reporting accidents and improving preventive measures.

Girassol FPSO has a dimension of 300m x 59.6m x 30.5m. Overall, it features 12 cargo oil tanks, two slop tanks and 12 ballast tanks.

The topsides has a main process deck above the hull’s upper deck with key systems arranged on three additional secondary levels. The living quarters located on the topsides can accommodate 140 people.

Girassol FPSO is designed to operate for at least 20 years.

Key Contractors Involved

In February 2023, TechnipFMC secured a contract, worth between $75m and $250m, related to the Girassol Life Extension project (GIRLIFEX), offshore Angola.

The scope of the contract includes engineering, procurement, and supply of flowlines and connectors for GIRLIFEX. The flexible pipes will enable bypassing the rigid pipe bundles installed before production began in 2001 and extend the life of the Girassol field.

Previously, FMC Technologies, now part of TechnipFMC, provided a subsea production system for the project. TechnipFMC also received the engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning contract for Phase 2 of the Girassol.

Saipem installed umbilicals, risers, and flowlines for the Girassol Field.

Actemium maintained Girassol FPSO for five years. The work included living quarters facilities; electrical equipment; turbines as generators and compressors; instruments; manual valves, instrumental valves and pressure safety valves; and static and rotating mechanical equipment as well as lifting equipment.

In November 2020, remote site management and catering services provider Newrest Angola secured a five year contract extension for Girassol FPSO.