The UK oil and gas industry is busy decommissioning mature oilfields. This has created a number of opportunities for oil and gas contractors specialising in decommissioning. Also, the North Sea, according to experts, is witnessing a resurgence, with many smaller oil and gas contractors and companies taking over existing oilfields or developing newer ones.
Brent Delta Platform on the move
The Brent Delta platform was one of four sites that was collectively producing over half a million barrels per day at its peak in the early 1980s. However, one of the sites is being decommissioned, resulting in the huge platform being shipped to the North East. The topside piece of the platform weighs a massive 24,000 tonnes.
According to industry experts, it was a major decommissioning project to remove Brent Delta, which has been taken out of the seabed. It is in the process of being transported to Hartlepool, from where it will be taken to the River Tees.
The topside structure of the platform is about 130 metres tall, and has been removed from its foundation. Brent Delta was located east of Shetland, and is now being transported on a construction vessel, Pioneering Spirit, which has the distinction of being the largest ship in the world.
Once Brent Delta arrives in Hartlepool, it will be shifted onto a barge and taken to Able Seaton Port. Here, it will be recycled. The entire recycling process will take about a year to finish.
Able Seaton Port Executive Chairman Peter Stephenson stated that Brent Delta represented a major development for the decommissioning sector, and is the end of a long and complex process for the numerous parties involved.
Stephenson added that Able Seaton Port had invested about £28 million to develop a heavy-duty quay that is designed to accept these types of large structures. Over the next 12 months, 98 per cent of the structure will be recycled.