Heerema’s two large crane ships recently met to begin the relocation project
One of the largest upstream removal projects in the North Sea began removing the platform from one of the largest oil and gas wells in the region after the crew left the platform nearly two years ago. Two of the world’s largest semi-submersible crane ships came together for the first time in the North Sea to start the unique project.
Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC, known as TAQA, hired Heerema and AF Offshore Decom to carry out their first major asset removal project. Commissioned in 1988, the Brae Bravo platform produced over 94,000 barrels per day at its peak. It is more than 100 miles east of the Shetland Islands in Scotland. The shutdown began in December 2017 when the last staff left the platform in July 2019.
“TAQA Europe is launching one of the largest decommissioning drills to date in the North Sea,” said Donald Taylor, TAQA Managing Director for Europe. “The Brae Bravo has been an integral part of the Brae fields for more than three decades. The size and size of the platform, including the structure of the top, is almost the same as the height of the London Eye. The arrival of Thialf in the field was a historic event and heralded the moment when we began to put long-term planning into practice. “
Heerema’s semi-submersible crane ship Thialf is one of the two largest crane ships in the world. The device, which was built in 1985, can lift a tandem lift of 14,200 tons with its two cranes and thus offers the possibility of lowering the depth. With the launch of the SSCV Sleipnir in 2019, it became the second largest in the world. The two ships, each over 650 feet in length, will both be used for this project. They recently met for the first time in the North Sea to begin the first phase of the three-stage project, which will last until 2022.
The first phase of the project recently started with the two SSCVs being on site at the same time for several days to prepare and eventually remove the torch tower, bridge and mantle. The Thialf has remained on site to complete the final preparatory work and the module separation and to allow the final removal in summer. The Sleipnir will return to the site to remove the remaining tops during two trips in the field in the summer of 2021. At this point, the only remaining visible element of Brae Bravo will be the top of the jacket above the ocean surface. A special navigational aid will be placed on the remaining structure and a 500 meter safety zone will remain in place until the jacket is decommissioned in 2022.
“Brae Bravo has made an important contribution to the UK oil and gas industry over the past 33 years. Many people have longstanding connections with the platform. This project will involve more than 500 people working on the program during the main downtime offshore and we are committed to delivering this milestone safely and efficiently, ”said Taylor.
All waste from the platform is transported to the AF environmental base in Vats, Norway, and processed there to meet a 95 percent target for recycling or reuse.
Photos courtesy of TAQA and Heerema