New Sullom Voe gas plant will safeguard long-term future of terminal

Construction of the new gas plant at Sullom Voe is well under way. Photo: Dave Donaldson. Click image to enlarge.

The new gas plant currently being built at Sullom Voe will underpin the long-term development of the terminal, according to manager Lindsay Boswell.

The construction of the plant, known as the Aurora project, marks the biggest change at the site since the existing gas plant was commissioned in 1982.

Mr Boswell said: “The plant is expected to be there through the next decade and beyond and places us well for new developments east of Shetland.”

The new gas plant will replace the older, larger one which was designed for “peak throughput” at the height of the oil boom. It will continue to deal with crude oil from the Brent and Ninian fields east of Shetland in a process that will effectively be the same, though on a smaller scale. This reflects the smaller capacity needed on the terminal.

Fewer people will be needed to work in the new gas plant, with the present workforce of 214 expected to drop to 170. Mr Boswell said that would be achieved by normal leaving and there would be no compulsory redundancies.

The £60 million construction was sanctioned in March last year. Work started last July and is on target to be operational in August next year.

Aurora project manager Clive Twiggins said he was delighted the project was being delivered safely and on time and on budget. “I am very pleased with the excellent safety record. We are meeting all targets to commence next summer. The gas plant is going to be here for 20 years and more, securing the future of the terminal and allowing us to stay here for years to come. It is a source of employment and supports the local economy.”

Parts for the gas plant were largely built elsewhere in the UK and Europe and shipped pre-assembled to the terminal’s construction jetty. A particular milestone was reached two weeks ago with the erection of the fractination tower, which separates light gas from heavy oil condensate. This was done in a “weather window” at 3am and required the use of the largest crane in Europe.

The smaller capacity gas plant was deemed appropriate for current throughput at the terminal, which is only one fifth of what it once was.

Aurora transformation manager Neil Manson said the “fairly complicated” project provided an opportunity to look at the future organisation of the whole terminal.

In the not-too-distant future liquefied petroleum gas (propane and butane) will no longer be stored on the site. Shipments are now down to a “handful” a year and will eventually cease and the four LPG tanks will eventually be removed.


Add Your Comment

Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


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.