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Energy / New gas pipeline could be installed at Sullom Voe Terminal

Sunrise over Sullom Voe Terminal, which is operated by EnQuest. Photo: Courtesy of BP

A NEW piece of underground pipeline is being proposed in the area around Sullom Voe Terminal to streamline how gas from some west of Shetland assets reaches the Scottish mainland.

The 1.25km link would mean that gas from fields like Clair would no longer have to be piped offshore to the east of Shetland, as it does at the moment, giving it a more direct route to market.

It currently goes east to be used on the Magnus platform, or be exported south.

Instead, the new connection would join a pipeline which effectively links the nearby Shetland Gas Plant and the St. Fergus Gas Terminal north of Peterhead.

The new pipeline, which could be operational in 2024, is being funded by the partners behind the BP-operated Clair field.

Gas export is separate to oil export from the Clair field, which is 75km to the northwest of the Shetland mainland. Oil from the field comes into Sullom Voe Terminal.

In 2019 it was revealed that BP was evaluating its options for future export of oil from Clair, with negotiations taking place with terminal operator EnQuest. The matter is still under consideration.

The site in question for the new pipeline is largely within the Sullom Voe Terminal boundary, although it also includes a small area of farmland to the east.

Previous planning permission for a gas export pipeline of similar length, for the same purpose, was granted in 2016 but it was not progressed and subsequently lapsed.

There are some changes in the new application to the proposed pipeline route to minimise the number of water crossings and potential impact on blanket bog and deep peat.

The applicant – North Sea Midstream Partners – is also looking to change use of some land to create a temporary works area with welfare facilities, parking and storage of peat.

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An environmental management plan has also been submitted as part of the application.

A spokesperson for BP said: “BP, on behalf of itself and its Clair field co-venturers Shell, Harbour Energy and Chevron, can confirm plans to fund a new gas pipeline on Shetland.

“The pipeline, which would be built, owned and operated by North Sea Midstream Partners (NSMP), would be installed between the Sullom Voe Terminal and the existing SIRGE pipeline and provide a new connection between existing independent pipeline systems, assisting in the protection of security of supply of west of Shetland gas to the UK gas market.

“In addition to creating an additional long-term export route for gas from the Clair field, the new pipeline would be sized to accommodate gas production from other west of Shetland developments.

“NSMP has submitted a planning application for installation of the 1.25-kilometre pipeline and associated above ground facilities to Shetland Islands Council for its consideration.

“Approval of the planning application is a critical step to enable construction to commence in 2023, with the pipeline targeted to be operational by the end of 2024.”

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