SIC - Orkney & Shetland valuation joint board

Port already looking at new opportunities as £12m Dales Voe decommissioning hub opens

The extended Dales Voe pier has already received the first oil installation for decommissioning. Photo: John Coutts/LPADales Voe. Photo: John Coutts/LPA

LERWICK Port Authority is getting ready to officially open its second major investment in as many months as representatives from the oil and gas industry and government agencies travel to Shetland today (Tuesday) to celebrate the completion of the Dales Voe decommissioning hub.

The port authority had hoped to host Scottish business and energy minister Paul Wheelhouse as keynote speaker, but he had to cancel at short notice due to other government commitments.

The government has invested almost £2.4 million in the £12 million extension, which has seen the existing pier being lengthened to 127 metes with a water depth of 12.5 metres.

The pier provides the offshore industry with the strongest pier anywhere in the UK. At 60 tonnes per square metre it can accept the largest platform topsides using single lift technology.

Chief executive Sandra Laurenson, port chairman Ronnie Gear and harbour master Calum Grains will be joined during a reception at the Shetland Museum and Archives by Deirdre Michie of industry body Oil & Gas UK, Gunther Newcombe of the Oil and Gas Authority as well as Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s Audrey MacIver.

Following a number of speeches that will give an insight into the operations and opportunities Dales Voe provides, guests will be taken to the site at the north end of Lerwick for the official opening.

Forming a backdrop to the visit will be the former Buchan Alpha floating production unit (FPU) which arrived in the voe earlier this month to be decommissioned under a contract awarded by Repsol Sinopec Resources UK to Veolia, in association with Peterson.

Laurenson said: “The port’s extensive experience, expanded capability, competitiveness and, now, the presence of Buchan Alpha all reinforce our position as a leader in the emerging decommissioning market.

“As well as celebrating the investment recently made by the port, we are already looking ahead to future requirements, with Lerwick being seen increasingly as the potential location for a UK ultra-deep-water decommissioning facility, to suit the largest semi-submersible crane vessels.

“It would allow us to compete with overseas locations, with significant benefits to Shetland, Scotland and the UK. Discussions are ongoing as to the terms and timing of such a major development.”

More to follow…