Work to begin on upgrading decommissioning site next year

CONSTRUCTION work on expanding the decommissioning facilities at Dales Voe in Lerwick is expected to start next year after plans for the project were given the green light.

The oil drilling rig Buchan Alpha is the first larger oil installation to be decommissioned in Shetland. Photo: Shetland NewsThe Buchan Alpha platform at Dales Voe last year. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

Peterson submitted a planning application earlier this year to turn a quayside area at the Lerwick Port Authority site into a facility which would provide a fuller service in dismantling heavy structures from the oil industry.

The application was submitted before it was confirmed in September that Dales Voe has been selected by the Scottish Government as its favoured site for an ultra deep water base for decommissioning.

It was also confirmed at the same time that Peterson and partner Veolia had won the contract for decommissioning the Ninian North platform topsides – the first “single-lift” contract undertaken at the base.

The superstructure will be cut off the legs of the platform before being transported to Dales Voe for scrapping in 2020.

The now-approved planning application said that the work at the facility would mainly consist of breaking up structures and shipping the parts away, and it is thought that around 20-50 people would work on the site at peak times during contracts.

It would operate as a stand-alone or a facility “complementing and augmenting” the ongoing work at Greenhead Base, which has also been used for some decommissioning jobs.

Peterson decommissioning manager James Johnson said: “We’ve been working on proposals for Dales Voe for some time, and we’re pleased to now have this permission in hand.

“Design work is underway, and we’re looking forward to construction commencing next year.

“The construction phase will be managed by Lerwick Port Authority, and is programmed to be carried out through 2019 in readiness for operations in 2020.”

Peterson and Veolia are currently using the Dales Voe site for decommissioning the Buchan Alpha production vessel.