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Regulator approves removal plans for Brae Bravo jacket

© Supplied by Taqabrae taqa decommissioning
The topsides are gone, but the huge Brae Bravo jacket is still waiting to be removed.

Regulators have approved TAQA’s plans to remove a section of the remaining jacket structure at Brae Bravo, following a successful topsides decommissioning campaign last year.

Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) published approved plans for the programme on Tuesday 7 June, which would see a large section of the upper jacket cut and lifted away later this summer.

The 36,000-tonne Brae Bravo topsides were removed in a separate campaign last year. leaving just the top of the jacket and a navigation aid visible above the water.

The platform sub-structure consists of an 109m tall, eight-legged steel structure, with a total weight of around 22,000 tonnes.

TAQA’s next campaign will see the upper jacket cut at a height of approximately 38.5 m above the seabed (a point around 61m below the lowest tide), and removed via a heavy lift vessel (HLV).

Pipeline riser sections attached to the upper jacket will be removed, while any remaining pipelines will be covered in wider Brae Area decommissioning programmes, TAQA said.

The mass covered by this portion of work amounts to some 11,600 tonnes, including around 1,500 tonnes of marine growth, according to filings.

Once removed, it will be transported to AF Decom’s facility in Vats, Norway, for recycling and disposal.

The lower portion of the substructure, referred to as the “footings”, will be addressed in a separate decommissioning programme.

TAQA said it had considered removal of the entire substructure in a single lift, but that the total weight and height of the jacket and footings precluded this option.

The structure is so tall that if it was lifted as one piece it would not be possible to lift it clear of the water and onto a barge in an upright orientation, the operator said, while shifting it onto its side on a barge would run the risk of the structure collapsing during transportation or unloading.

At a combined 22,000 tonnes, the total mass also exceeds available crane capacity.

The removal window for the upper jacket is earmarked for Q3 2022, according to the programme submission.

Operated by TAQA, current equity holders in the asset include Spirit Energy (13.33%) and Neo Energy (10.5%).

Brae Bravo was installed in 1987, with first oil was achieved on 13th April 1988 reaching a peak production of 94,567 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

The platform ceased production in December 2017, having produced more than 500million barrels of oil equivalent over its lifetime.

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