Schiehallion well below par

SCHIEHALLION is still suffering technical prob­lems since its annual maintenance and is still not producing at its full capacity.

General manager of ports and harbours Jim Dickson told a harbour board meeting yesterday that the floating production, storage and off­loading system (FPSO) was now producing around 80,000 barrels of oil per day, well below its possible production of 115,000 barrels a day.

Mr Dickson said that Schiehallion had been shut down for four months in the summer with limited production when only two months had been expected, and “that revenue has to be made up”. He said this financial year “was not looking terribly good”.

Fewer Schiehallion imports meant fewer tankers using the terminal.

Chairman of the board Alastair Cooper said that BP-operated Schiehallion had a “whole heap of problems”. Production on the FPSO “fluctuated week to week” and it was now on average 30,000 barrels per day light of peak production.

Mr Cooper said: “We are losing income and have nothing else to lay it off against. We have to retain staff for a 24-hour operation. It is difficult to keep staff occupied when there are no ships, you still have to provide a service.

“I would like to believe the problems are behind us but time will tell.”

Meanwhile, the meeting heard that top conservation engineers from the mainland will be coming to Shetland before the end of the month and should give their opinion on the Peerie Dock in Symbister.

Groves Raines Architects, who did Hays Dock in Lerwick, has been approached with a view to conserving Whalsay’s historic dock.

Mr Cooper said it was the desire of the Whal­say community to retain the dock, which was important for its fishing heritage. The dock and Hanseatic booth beside it are listed structures.

Mr Cooper said the first priority was to have the structure stabilised and later to see about about a permanent restoration.

Initial work would be to barrier off two knuckles and then to “do something” about the old barge that is moored in the dock.

It emerged that the Peerie Dock work was different from Hays Dock and would be more difficult, but Frank Robertson said Groves Raines were the top conservation engineers in Scotland. He also said that the company had raised money for Hays Dock and was familiar with funding issues.

Mr Cooper said the board would have to see what the cost would be and see if it could be built into the council’s capital programme.

  • Ten companies have expressed interest in taking over the contract for maintenance of the jetties at Sullom Voe Terminal.

The maintenance is currently being done by Malakoff. Their contract was originally for three years but was extended by another year and will now expire at the end of February.

Of the 10 companies bidding for the work, four were local and six based in Scotland. A question­naire sent to the companies has reduced the contenders to six.

The meeting heard that terminal operators BP are particularly interested in jetty maintenance, and in order to make sure all the contractors would be suitable for the work, harbour officials will visit all of them to “vet them from the safety point of view” before the new contract starts on 1st March.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.