Sullom Voe gas plant plans to be revealed next month

French-owned oil giant Total E&P will reveal its latest plans for the proposed £500 million new gas terminal at Sullom Voe when its team visits Shetland again late next month.

Work is still going on to prepare the planning application for the massive onshore works in support of developing the Laggan/Tormore gas field west of Shetland, which is expected to need 500 workers at the terminal during construction and up to 60 permanently to operate the gas plant.

Total plans to open up an area of untouched hill land next to Sullom Voe as the site for the new gas terminal, which will be built to last 30 years. The chosen site sits next to the existing Sullom Voe complex, between the filled-in part of Orka Voe and the main flare stack, where the Burn of Crooksetter runs.

It is understood there have been concerns about the steepness of a proposed road into the plant where heavy gas processing equipment will have to be hauled.

The site will include the processing plant and a technical building. A storage area for methanol will be needed after it has been removed from the pipes plus a new water treatment plant to take the separated water from the pipelines and return it to the sea via the terminal’s existing effluent discharge pipe.

From 2013 the gas would travel the 87 miles from Laggan/Tormore through two 18-inch pipes running down Yell Sound into the terminal at Orka Voe. Total had also considered bringing the pipeline ashore at Sandwick, on the west side of Hillswick, before crossing Northmavine and back into the sea again to reach Sullom Voe.

The gas will be dried, compressed and brought to the standard required for joining the pipeline into St Fergus. The oils removed from the gas, the so-called condensate, will be processed and stored along with North Sea crude in existing tanks at Sullom Voe until sold for export via tanker.

After the gas is conditioned at the new gas handling facilities at Sullom Voe, it will be compressed and exported via a single new 30-inch pipeline buried in the Hill of Garth and following the road from the terminal to Firths Voe, a distance of three miles, and onwards on the seabed for over 140 miles to link into the UK Frigg pipeline system (FUKA) taking it onwards to Total’s St Fergus gas terminal near Peterhead. There the gas will be further conditioned to ensure compatibility with the National Grid entry specification. Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) will be recovered and exported via the existing liquid transportation systems.

The environmental research which has to be done prior to a planning application being sub­mitted is due to be finished in August, with the application set to be submitted in September. If the government approves the off­shore field development plan later this year and planning consent is gained for the Shetland works, construction could get under way next year.

Basic engineering studies are already under way by French-owned Doris Engineering and it subsidiary Offshore Design Engine­ering which will produce detailed plans for all sections of the project, including the gas plant and the cross-Shetland pipeline. Another oil company is also developing its plans for a west of Shetland field. Chevron’s Rosebank/Lochnagar find is having engineering work done by a Texas-based company INTECSEA. One of the options being considered is another floating production platform, similar to those used in the Foinaven and Schiehalion fields west of Shetland, or perhaps a semi-submersible storage plat­form. Chevron also has a super-drillship Stena Carron in the field evaluating it.


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