Decommissioning Buchan Alpha oil production vessel to create 36 new jobs in Shetland

The Buchan Alpha platform
The Buchan Alpha platform

The Buchan Alpha N. Sea oil well has been shut down after a 36-year life-span during which it pumped out almost 150mm barrels of oil.

Buchan Alpha is a semi-submersible moored floating production vessel (originally a drilling rig) which began production in 1981 from the Buchan field, located, approximately 100 miles northeast of Aberdeen. It also subsequently produced the nearby Hannay field.

Repsol Sinopec’s decommissioning plans are well developed and ultimate dismantling and recycling of the vessel will be carried out by Veolia at its Dales Voe site in Lerwick. It is expected that this decommissioning work will created more than 30 jobs.

Repsol Sinopec is conducting an area strategy review to screen potential field redevelopment options. Bill Dunnett, Managing Director, said: “Buchan Alpha has made a huge contribution to the economy throughout its life, producing more than three times the volume of oil that was originally predicted.

“We are pleased the decommissioning phase will create further sustained value for the UK supply chain and additional employment for Shetland, building a new model for full facility decommissioning in the UK.

Gunther Newcombe, Operations Director at the Oil & Gas Authority, added: “Developing competitive decommissioning capability in the supply chain is a priority outlined in both the OGA’s decommissioning and supply chain strategies.

“We are delighted to see the award of Buchan Alpha decommissioning to Veolia’s Dales Voe site in Shetland as this represents a major step in developing a deeper water decommissioning facility in the UK.”

Estelle Brachlianoff, Veolia Senior Executive Vice-President, said: “We will be targeting a recycling rate of over 98% at the new Dales Voe decommissioning facility in Lerwick where we will work closely with our partners, Peterson and Lerwick Port Authority to boost the local economy by creating 35 jobs and develop strong relationships with the local community.”

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse, added: “Decommissioning is an emerging, but growing, activity, with £17.6 billion expected to be spent in the North Sea over the next decade, as mature fields reach this stage in their project lifecycle. 

“We are already seeing Scottish-based firms seizing opportunities, and securing the lion’s share of value from a range of decommissioning activities, including project management of decommissioning programmes and high value, well-plugging and abandonment activity.”

“The £5 million Decommissioning Challenge Fund and the Decommissioning Action Plan developed by our enterprise agencies, build on the Programme for Government commitment to identify investment opportunities, with a view to improving capacity at Scottish ports and increasing the economic return to Scotland from a variety of removal, disposal and dismantling activities to add to the success in well-plugging and abandonment and other stages of the process.”

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