A Scottish firm has clinched its maiden contract for dismantling offshore platforms at a facility in Methil, Fife.
CessCon Decom announced today that the decommissioning base at Energy Park Fife (EPF) would welcome exploration and production firm Spirit Energy’s DP3 and DP4 platforms this year.
The project is expected to create between 30 and 50 news jobs at EPF, with recruitment to get under way in the coming months.
The topside modules for both platforms will be delivered simultaneously by Swiss firm Allseas’ huge Pioneering Spirit heavy lift vessel, which has a capacity of 48,000 tonnes.
CessCon Decom will decontaminate, dismantle and recycle the topsides, as well as the jackets and subsea structures.
In total, the company will process more than 23,000 tonnes of material.
The two platforms were used to produce gas from the Morecambe Bay area of the East Irish Sea, starting in 1985.
CessCon Decom declined to provide a value for the contract, which was awarded by Allseas via a competitive tendering process, but described it as a “major” milestone.
The business is a subsidiary of CessCon Ltd, headquartered in Livingston and owned by chief executive Lee Hanlon and project and operations director Frank Braaten.
Both men used to work for Norwegian firm AF Gruppen’s decommissioning business.
Mr Hanlon said it was “excellent” to see his team’s “hard work and determination” to establish the facility being recognised by Allseas and Spirit.
The company first signalled its intent in 2018, when it announced the signing of a head of terms pact with Scottish Enterprise and Fife Council for the project.
The two organisations have supported CessCon Decom with the planning, development and licensing of the facility.
CessCon Decom made further progress last year when the Scottish Environment Protection Agency granted it a waste management licence.
Authorisations for handling radioactive substances and discharging water were expected to follow.
In August 2020, the Scottish Government, through its Decommissioning Challenge Fund, awarded Fife Council £645,000 for “a programme of enabling works to facilitate the development of the £3 million facility”.
Mr Hanlon said development work at the facility had been completed.
Upgrades included extending the quayside and equipping it with a strengthened concrete laydown and dismantling area boasting water collection and treatment facilities.
All engineering, decontamination and dismantling operations on the Spirit Energy project will be completed in-house by CessCon staff, Mr Hanlon said.
Spirit Energy, whose majority shareholder is British Gas owner Centrica, went with CessCon because of the decommissioning company’s commitment to building a safety culture.
The operator also wanted to create work for the UK supply chain.
Neil McCulloch, executive vice president, technical and operated production, Spirit Energy, and co-chairman of the Oil and Gas Authority’s Decommissioning Taskforce, said: “Having been built in the UK and providing gas for the country for more than 30 years, it is fitting that these two platforms will now be dismantled and recycled at a new UK yard built specifically for decommissioning projects like this.
“The UK is building a strong level of expertise in successfully decommissioning assets safely, and we look forward to working with CessCon Decom on our latest project to return to a Scottish yard.”
A spokesman for Allseas said: “The contract has been awarded to CessCon Decom because they offered the technically and commercially most suitable solution for this project.”
Scotland’s Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The award of this major onshore decommissioning contract is evidence of the growing strength of Scotland’s decommissioning supply chain and the capabilities, knowledge and skills held within the industry.
“I am delighted to see how recent investment through the Scottish Government’s Decommissioning Challenge Fund and the Vacant and Derelict Land Fund has been used to develop the decommissioning potential of Methil Docks and to help secure major projects within this key growth sector.
“With the market for oil and gas decommissioning forecast to reach £15.2 billion over the next decade, there is huge potential for the Scottish supply chain to capitalise on this opportunity and to continue to develop its world class capabilities.
“At a time in which the decommissioning supply chain continues to be significantly affected by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is welcome news that this new facility has secured its first major dismantlement and recycling contract.”