A series of significant milestones – shaping the next generation of deep-water infrastructure developments at Lerwick Harbour – are expanding capability and competitiveness for the offshore decommissioning and renewables industries.
“In a year dominated by Covid-19, the pandemic has largely overshadowed progress and achievements,” said Captain Calum Grains, Lerwick Port Authority chief executive.
“However, the harbour has continued to underpin its track-record in the decommissioning sector and to evolve its contribution.”
Recent achievements include:
• New decommissioning firsts for Lerwick
• Extended market reach beyond home waters
• Commissioned another licensed decommissioning pad
• Accepted its biggest project yet
• Progressed plans for a game-changing facility
• Pursued the renewable energy sector’s growing interest in using Lerwick
• Handled the world’s largest construction vessel inside port limits
Decommissioning of the Markham gas field’s ST-1 platform, marked a number of firsts – a project from the southern North Sea, a combined jacket-and-topside and direct delivery to quay by crane ship, rather than barge.
Dismantling and disposal of Buchan Alpha was the first floating production facility to be processed at the port.
At Dales Voe, a new 20,000 square metre impermeable, heavy duty concrete decommissioning pad has a 60 tonne per square metre load which matches the quayside capacity. Unique to the quayside design is an 800 tonne per metre line loading for transferring topsides from a barge across the quayside.
It was inaugurated with the arrival of the biggest project yet in August, the 14,200 tonne Ninian Northern topside, removed offshore in a single lift and delivered by Allseas’ Pioneering Spirit to Lerwick on her first arrival at a UK port and transferred onshore at Dales Voe Base.
Lerwick is the preferred location for the widely-supported plan for the UK’s ultra-deep-water quay (UDWQ) at the base, with associated dredging, enabling the port to compete for bigger projects.
The contracts for Buchan Alpha, Markham and Ninian Northern were all won by the international partnership of Veolia/Peterson, as were recent subsea decommissioning projects for Dunlin and Leadon.
The Port Authority’s considerable commitment to decommissioning over the years could prove to be a value-added investment.
Captain Grains explained: “Discussions with the renewable energy industry are already advanced regarding the use of our decommissioning facilities and offshore industry experience for their own projects. The interest is now being encouraged by the green energy transition, our UDWQ plans, the offer of wind farm acreage off Shetland, and the government’s backing for ports to support floating offshore wind projects.
“It could all mean opportunities for Lerwick to also use our considerable resources for renewable energy, complementing our role as a leader in decommissioning.”