Bob Gibson – FPSOs in the Oil Industry – 17 October 2017

Bob Gibson, a master mariner and this week’s guest speaker, spent 15 years in the Merchant Navy before transferring to the North Sea at the height of the oil boom. The subject of Bob’s talk was his experiences on FPSOs which he explained was an acronym for Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading facilities. In simple terms these are a combination of a traditional oil tanker and an oil production platform. The FPSO vessel is moored to the seabed and produces a mixture of oil, gas and water which is then separated in the production process system and stored before transfer to carrier vessels.

In addition to all of the technical facts and figures with which Bob impressed his audience, he described some of the dangers he had faced on the high seas. These ranged from fire and weather-related incidents to being held at knifepoint by pirates in the South China Sea!

Bob served on two principal vessels: Iolair (pictured – a semi-submersible support vessel) and Seillean (the world’s first dynamically positioned oil production vessel). On reaching retirement he was tempted, for a period, into the world of consulting, mostly in a troubleshooting capacity. Nowadays he gets most of his excitement from working as a pathminder on the coastal path!


Brian Strathern, in his vote of thanks, compared Bob’s Merchant Navy days with his own (which lasted four days!). He thanked Bob for a most interesting talk about a career in which there was, seemingly, never a dull moment.