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Energy / Peterson boss predicts bright future for Shetland

Awaiting the arrival the Ninian Northern jacket for decommissioning are (left to right): Daniel Gear, Peterson's general manager for Shetland; James Johnson, decommissioning manager for Peterson; and the company's managing director for Scotland, Chris Coull. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

A LOCALLY-based services company to the energy industries is hoping to significantly grow its business in Shetland over the next five to 10 years as major projects are expected to come to fruition.

Speaking ahead of a second large oil installation decommissioning project due to arrive in the isles this weekend, the managing director for Scotland of Peterson Energy Logistics, Chris Coull, said more jobs will be created locally as “there is a pipeline of potential work going to be happening”.

The Greenhead based company employs around 60 staff at four different locations in Shetland and expects to grow its workforce should it be awarded further energy related contracts.

Staff from Peterson as well as specialist contractors are currently busy preparing the Dales Voe decommissioning site for the arrival of the 83 metre high steel jacket of the Ninian Northern oil installation.

The 8,500 tonne structure is expected to arrive at Dales Voe on Sunday on board the Pioneering Spirit, the largest construction vessel in the world.

Once in Dales Voe, the jacket will be transferred to the barge Iron Lady and then pulled ashore on to the concrete platform where it will be dismantled and recycled over the next eight months.

This latest decommissioning contract was won by the Veolia/Peterson partnership after the successful completion of the contract to dismantle the topside of the Ninian Northern platform.

The now globally operating services company, which has some of its roots in Shetland as SBS, is diversifying away from exclusively serving the oil and gas industry.

Coull said the renewable energy industry which has lined up a number of large projects locally on and offshore is growing in significance, while Shetland and its deep-water harbour facilities is increasingly attractive for oil and gas decommissioning work.

General manager of Shetland operations Daniel Gear added: “Geographically Shetland is really ideally placed to capitalise on some of the renewable energy projects but also for some of the large decommissioning activities. And there is also field development such as Cambo and Rosebank.”

Coull said: “There are some very exciting prospects for Shetland over the next five years, and we are actively involved in that.”

It is expected that large oil and gas companies such as TAQA and Repsol will go through a major decommissioning phase over the next ten years with multiple offshore structures required to be brought ashore for dismantling, recycling and re-use.

“There is massive scope for decommissioning, and we are actively involved in tendering for that work to bring that to the islands here,” Coull said.

Gear added that in his view the future will see renewables, oil and gas and decommissioning all co-existing in the vibrant Shetland environment.

“For the ScotWind licensing round, in terms of the commitment that was made in terms of gigawatt installed capacity, you would need something like four times more in laydown areas to deliver that than currently exist in the country,” he said.

“So, you got competition within offshore wind, but then you also have new field development and decommissioning, and they are all looking at the same kind of facilities.

“Which is why we see a bright future for facilities like those here in Shetland,” Coull added.