The twin-hulled, heavy-lift vessel that will remove a number of topside modules from the North Sea has passed its first test. The Pioneering Spirit, owned by Allseas, has installed a 5,500 tonne test platform topside during southern North Sea trials.
The huge crane ship booked to lift the Brent Delta topside away in one piece left Rotterdam at the weekend ahead of offshore trials. Allsea’s twin-hulled Pioneering Spirit had been moored in Rotterdam since January 2015 for installation, commissioning and testing of the topsides lift system. If the southern North Sea trials go to plan, the vessel’s first job will be to remove the 13,500 tonne Yme mobile offshore production unit off Norway for Repsol.
Green lobbyists and politicians yesterday accused Shell of shirking its environmental responsibilities with its plans to leave the gigantic legs of its Brent field platforms in the North Sea. Mark Ruskell, Scottish Greens MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said the Brent field had generated millions for Shell and its shareholders and should be left in the same condition in which it was found. On Monday, Shell said it would recommend leaving the 300,000 tonne legs from three of the field’s four platforms in place, along with storage cells, the lower section of the Alpha platform’s jacket, drill cuttings and heavier pipelines entrenched in the seabed.
Shell (LON: RDSB) plans to leave platform legs, storage cells and entrenched pipelines in the North Sea at the end of its multi-billion pound Brent decommissioning campaign, the oil major said yesterday. Duncan Manning, Shell’s business opportunity manager on Brent Decommissioning, said the removal of certain items of subsea infrastructure was potentially dangerous for workers and had little merit for the environment. On the back of years of research and consultation, the firm is preparing to submit its recommendations to the Department of Energy Change (DECC) by the end of the year.
A senior executive from Shell's multi billion dollar Brent field decommissioning team said the delay in deploying the enormous would not add to the cost of the project, despite putting put back a year.
The GMB union has urged the Scottish Government to insist that oil companies remove everything from the seabed when closing down platforms unless there are pressing reasons not to.
Shell is considering the option of leaving the massive subsea concrete jackets for its Brent platforms in place, as removing the 300,000 tonne structures may be more hazardous than leaving them where they are.