No oil will leave the Sullom Voe Terminal for the next week after BP shut down all the loading jetties today for repairs.
The three jetties used for filling visiting tankers will be out of action until Wednesday 21st following the departure of the Aegean Power early this afternoon, bound for Rotterdam.
BP confirmed that planned maintenance was being carried out on the “crude loading lines” – pipes which carry oil from the terminal’s storage tanks to waiting tankers. If all goes well the work could be completed within five days.
No details of the nature of the repair work have been released or why it requires all the jetties to be closed at the same time. A spokeswoman at Sullom Voe said it was a planned shutdown and not related to any incident.
The main loading jetty for North Sea crude, Jetty 2, has already been out of action for some months with loading being carried out at Jetty 1 instead, which cannot accommodate the largest tankers.
Jetty 3 is used for importing west of Shetland oil from the Schiehallion field shuttle tanker Loch Rannoch and exporting it. Jetty 4 no longer has a pipeline and is mainly for tankers transhipping oil between each other.
The lull in traffic and the consequent drop in income to Shetland Islands Council, which runs the port and provides the pilots and tugs, may be compensated for by a busy Christmas period with tankers arriving for the oil that will have been building up in the terminal’s tanks.
Bill Sclater of the council’s ports and harbours department said BP had “kept us in the loop” regarding the proposed shutdown and pipeline maintenance.
The council owns and maintains the jetty heads at the terminal but the oil companies look after the rest of the plant.