Loading buoys are a collective term for facilities used to transfer (load/discharge) liquids between different units, at least one of which is floating. Many varieties of such structures exist. These include catenary anchor leg mooring (Calm) designs and single point moorings (SPM), which comprise columns or towers fixed to the seabed. Some examples used on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) are presented below.
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The loading buoys on Statfjord
The Norwegian Statfjord licensees had to find solutions for transporting the huge volumes of oil and gas involved. While the gas went by pipeline to Germany, the stabilised crude oil was exported by specially equipped shuttle tankers to refineries and terminals throughout northern Europe. Such offshore loading failed to comply with the “10 commandments” of Norwegian petroleum policy, which said that all the country’s oil and gas production should be landed in Norway. That made it difficult to approve the system.