Shetland is bidding for more North Sea decomissioning work by emphasising the continuing development of Lerwick Harbour to cope with major projects and launching a marketing campaign aimed at convincing the industry of its capabilities.
Members of the Shetland Decomissioning Consortium were at the huge Offshore Europe exhibition in Aberdeen this week seeking fresh contract work.
James Johnson, decommissioning manager for Peterson SBS, said: “With our proximity to so many oil and gas fields, our comprehensive infrastructure and services and experienced contractors, Shetland already provides the offshore industry with tremendous advantages as a location for decommissioning and support, from subsea to topside projects.
“With a head start in the decommissioning market, we’re committed to making the most of the opportunities and are now looking to the next stage. Lerwick is one of the few UK locations with the potential to be developed as a deep-water centre, capable of handling the largest heavy lift vessels which the industry will require in the future.”
As well as Peterson SBS, whose international oil-related activities include operating the Greenhead base, and Veolia Environmental Services which provides waste management and decommissioning services at Greenhead as part of its global operation.
At Greenhead, where facilities include a 20,000 square metre bunded and licensed decommissioning area, the quayside is to be significantly expanded and options are being explored for further development there.
In addition, an area to the south of Greenhead was dredged last year by the Port Authority to provide nine metres’ water depth for two additional berths, extending to 180 metres of quay. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2010, increasing the berthing capacity at Greenhead by a third, with a 1,000 tonne capacity heavy lift pad included in the design.
At Dales Voe Base, with 12.5 metres of water alongside the quay, work is underway to expand the laydown area to allow the handling of a range of offshore-related projects.
Concepts have also been developed for deep-water infrastructure with 20 metres of water adjacent to Dales Voe and next to North Greenhead where over 10 acres of land were reclaimed as part of the Port Authority’s £12 million dredging and land reclamation project.
Access to, and movement within, the port for the largest ships and barges supporting decommissioning has already been improved by last year’s dredging. The north channel was significantly deepened and widened, the north entrance and basin at Greenhead Base widened and a minimum of nine metres’ water depth provided from north to south through the twin entrance harbour.
Lerwick’s track record includes contracts as part of the Frigg Cessation Project, including decommissioning an 8,730 tonnes module support frame, one of the largest decommissioning single lifts yet transported into the UK from the North Sea.
The port, including Greenhead Base, also has a long-established role in supporting the offshore oil and gas industry’s exploration, development and production operations.