Document Type


Publication details

Mierendorff, R 2011, 'Critical success factors for the efficient conversion of oil tankers to floating production storage offloading facilities [FPSOs]', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright R Mierendorff 2011


The rate of demand for Floating Production Storage and Offloading Facilities (FPSOs) in the offshore frontier areas where hydrocarbon production and pipeline infrastructure is absent continues to increase rapidly due to growing worldwide energy requirements coupled with insufficient supplies. This demand has translated into major shipyard conversion programs of tanker vessels into FPSOs to offset the twin challenges of bridging the absence of oilfield infrastructure and the shortfall in hydrocarbon supply.

The number of marine shipyard tanker conversions has grown threefold between 2005 and 2008. The growing complexity of FPSO conversions has resulted in the majority of conversions being well over planned budget and taking substantially longer time to complete than estimated. Due to different stakeholders, variable drivers and dynamics in the industry, finding a common instant fix solution to this problem has remained elusive.

This study examines the underlying reasons contributing to the poor performance of these expensive conversion projects and attempts to determine the critical success factors that impact on budget and time to completion. The study investigates and analyses feedback from a variety of stakeholders that actively influence project performance.

Exploratory research methodology is adopted to answer this research problem using qualitative and quantitative processes. The methodology employed uses a structured process of focus groups, face to face interviews, and survey instruments. The study examines data from a variety of sources to identify the critical success factors, and an order of importance of these critical success factors. Attempts have been made to identify new techniques that positively affect project management methodologies and investigate new knowledge derived from the study that could influence future performance.

The study findings identify and rank the major critical success factors and critically analyses them. The study also contributes to the body of knowledge by stressing the importance of project and interface management as key management tools in improving project performance by optimising communication between internal and external stakeholders. It also proposes further investigation into utilisation of the safety case regime and total cost of ownership concepts as added tools. The study will identify an improved project management model for conversions for the offshore oil and gas industry.

Based on the findings this study provides recommendations and guidelines for policy and best practices to industry practitioners in the conversion industry to improve project service delivery and management performance.