Work on Total’s £2.5billion Laggan-Tormore project is to start ramping up this summer, both in Shetland and offshore west of the islands.
The project, thought to be the largest development on the UK continental shelf, will see more than 1,000 people on site at Sullom Voe, adjacent to BP’s terminal, when work building a new gas plant and terminal is at its peak next year. Some 850 of those will be housed in specially built accommodation opened at the end of last year and now home to about 150 workers.
This summer, subsea firm Allsea’s Solitaire, said to be the world’s largest pipelay vessel, will start construction of an export pipeline. This will transport gas from the new plant to 150 miles east of Shetland where it will join the Fuka pipeline and go on to the St Fergus gas plant in Aberdeenshire.
There will also be major works onshore and on the seabed at the Laggan and Tormore fields.
Total spokesman Brian O’Neill said: “We are two years into this ground-breaking project. We remain well on track, despite the many challenges thrown up by the harsh environment. We have still got a particularly busy couple of years ahead of us, but everything is on schedule for first gas in 2014 as originally planned.”
Peak production from the fields is expected to be about 500million cubic feet per day. The two fields are estimated to contain more than one trillion cubic feet of gas, plus some condensates – about 230million barrels of oil equivalent – according to Total.
Other work due to be started in summer includes the installation of two subsea manifolds, being made by FMC in Norway, at Laggan and Tormore.
Pre-assembled units made in Kuwait and turbo compressors being made in Italy will be brought to the island as work starts to build up on the gas plant construction.
The project, started onsite in May 2010, has already seen the creation of two holding pens to contain 750,000 tonnes of peat dug up to build the site and which will have to be re-instated when the plant is finally decommissioned.
The site and the pipeline infrastructure is expected to run for at least 30 years and was “oversized” through an agreement with the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the hope of opening up access to other fields west of Shetland; estimated to contain some 17% of the UK’s remaining oil and gas reserves.