Decommissioning at Aberdeen Harbour
Many regard the decommissioning of North Sea assets as a brand new activity stream, yet Aberdeen Harbour has treated it as a core activity for several
It could be said, however, that Aberdeen Harbour’s support for ‘piece-small’ decommissioning activity went unrecognised, even by the Harbour Board itself, until recently, as the removal of decommissioned pieces of equipment was just classified as ‘scrap’ removal.
With the looming prospect of the systematic decommissioning of fields across the North Sea, however, focus has changed, as have the facilities that Aberdeen Harbour provides for this sector.
In accordance with the needs of the industry, the port now provides modern quaysides with triple interceptors, expansive lay-down areas and, since the £5 million investment into the widening and deepening of the navigation channel, completed in 2012, the capacity to accommodate larger vessels, requiring a deeper draft.
Aberdeen Harbour is also home to a wide range of specialist, certified vendors and service companies, with the expertise to manage onshore disposal processes.
Any decommissioning strategy should also consider Aberdeen Harbour’s international reach. In 2016 the harbour had direct trading links with 36 different countries around the world. A ‘ship-in-ship-out’ approach for disposal of decommissioned material, whereby shipments from offshore are brought to Aberdeen, but then ‘shipped out’ again to a UK or international location for disposal, not only avoids the environmental impact of road transportation, but may also prove a highly cost-effective strategy.
Most significantly, consideration should also be given to the port's significant expansion project, currently under construction at Nigg Bay, to the South of the existing harbour. With water depths of up to 10.5 metres plus tide, total additional quay of 1400 metres, 125,000m² of laydown area, a turning circle of 300 metres, and a load transfer capacity of 6,000 tonnes plus, Aberdeen South Harbour is going to represent a step-change in marine support facilities for the Decommissioning Sector in the North Sea. Aberdeen South Harbour