SNP - Tom Wills

Business / Two firms awarded decommissioning grants

Offshore modules coming ashore at the Greenhead Base.Dales Voe pad would replicate a similar structure at the Green Head, as seen here. Photo: Shetland News

LERWICK Port Authority and Ocean Kinetics have been granted shares in a £2.5 million cash award as part of the third round of a Scottish Government fund.

The LPA money will go to the engineering design phase of a concrete decommissioning pad at Dales Voe that is intended to be in place before decommissioning of the Ninian North topsides begins in 2020.

Lerwick based Ocean Kinetics will meanwhile receive cash to go to a compact ROV (remotely operated vessel) and related equipment which will be used in development of a decommissioning cutting and inspection service.

According to Ocean Kinetics managing director John Henderson the grant will cover about 20 per cent of project costs.

He added: “The new equipment will allow remote cutting of steel underwater and in the dry using ultra high pressure abrasive water jet cutting equipment positioned and monitored by ROV underwater and by robot above water.

“It will allow safe cutting of metal structures remotely particularly in high risk areas such as underwater, unstable structures, confined spaces and areas with explosive atmospheres, this will minimise the risks to workers.”

LPA assistant harbourmaster Ally Simpson said that the Dales Voe pad would replicate a similar structure at the Green Head, allowing catchment and treatment of water run-off from major oil rig structures.

As well as construction of the pad, he said, there were a “few things to be tidied up” before Dales Voe will be ready for the Ninian North project. The pad will be operated by Peterson SBS/Veolia and designed to their requirements.

Dales Voe and Ocean Kinetics are two of 12 recipients of the Scottish Government’s Decommissioning Challenge Fund (DCF) awards. The decision to fund the projects comes after Dales Voe was confirmed as the favourite location for a Scottish deep water decommissioning site in August.

Projects in this round include:

  • innovation and research in pipeline cleaning, well plugging and abandonment
  • dry dock upgrades
  • feasibility studies
  • decommissioning pad investigation
  • specialist decommissioning equipment

Scottish energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said on Tuesday: “Decommissioning is an important part of the lifecycle of any oil and gas field in a mature basin, such as the North Sea, and the likely scale of activity offers a variety of opportunities for Scottish-based firms, right across the supply chain.

“As set out in our Decommissioning Action Plan, the Scottish Government will continue to build on our work to date to ensure that Scotland’s firms are able to access the opportunities this growing market offers and maximise the economic impact for Scotland and improve efficiency in the decommissioning process”.

He said the fund was a “clear signal” to the market that decommissioning was serious, with a market that is forecast to be worth up to £17 billion over the period to 2025, and to plan and invest accordingly.

“I am pleased that the Scottish Government’s funding is, as intended, acting as a catalyst to help attract in significant investment and innovation from the private sector,” he added.

Speaking at the Decom North Sea Conference in St Andrews Mike Tholen of Oil and Gas UK said: “Alongside continued upstream operations, our offshore oil and gas industry has a world-class supply chain with the capabilities and expertise to lead the way in decommissioning at home and across the world.

“This fresh round of funding has the potential to spark a new wave of technological advances and support fresh thinking. This is critical to realising our wider Vision 2035, boosting growth of the supply chain and opening new opportunities in emerging markets.”

By-Election 2019 - Meet the candidates