Stena Spey rig

Kinsale decommissioning preparations in full swing

PSE Kinsale Energy is preparing for the decommissioning campaign of its Kinsale area gas fields located off Ireland with well abandonment set to begin later in March and rig arrival expected in early April 2021.

Stena Spey rig; Source: Stena Drilling
Kinsale Alpha - PSE Kinsale Energy
Kinsale Alpha platform; Source: PSE Kinsale Energy

According to a marine notice from the Department of Transport at Irish Maritime Administration, the department has been advised by PSE Kinsale Energy that the subsea wells abandonment campaign will start between 22 – 24 March 2021 and is expected to continue until November 2021. This, of course, will depend on the weather.

These activities are part of the Kinsale area decommissioning project.

Namely, PSE Kinsale Energy, a Petronas subsidiary, revealed in April 2018 that the gas reserves from the field were depleting.

A decommissioning plan was submitted to the Department of Communications, Climate Action, and Environment (DCCAE) in June 2018 and approved in April 2019.

Under the decommissioning plan, all wells will be permanently plugged and the associated facilities – platforms, pipelines, cables, subsea structures, and the Inch onshore terminal – will be decommissioned.

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In July 2020, PSE ceased gas production at the Kinsale area gas fields in the Celtic Sea after 42 years of production.

The Stena Spey semi-submersible drilling rig has been selected to perform the campaign that will be undertaken off the South Coast of Ireland at various locations.

The marine notice states that there will be three areas of operation: Southwest Kinsale gas field (including Greensand location); Seven Heads gas field; and, Ballycotton gas field.

The notice relates to activities in the Southwest Kinsale gas field area.

In advance of the Stena Spey arriving, the intent is to pre-lay the eight anchor mooring spreads at the locations, with these operations expected to happen from mid/late March 2021, using several vessels.

A total of 600m of the anchor chain will be pre-laid at each of the anchor lines with a 600ft laydown pennant to aid recovery and connection to the rig anchor chain on the arrival of the Stena Spey.

The Stena Spey will arrive in early April 2021 and during the time between anchor pre-lay and the Stena Spey arrival, the guard vessel VOS Pathfinder will remain on station.

On arrival, the Stena Spey will work between these two moored rig locations for an expected period of 90 days, subject to weather conditions, before moving to the PSE Kinsale Energy-operated Seven Heads gas field.

The anchor handling vessels that will accompany the Stena Spey throughout the entire campaign are the Maersk Maker and the Maersk Mariner.

In addition to the term charter anchor handling vessels, the rig will also have an adhoc anchor handling vessel (Maersk Lancer) and a permanent standby vessel (VOS Pathfinder) that will be in the field throughout all operations.

Energy services company AGR has already started working on the project. The company’s scope of work includes planning, engineering, regulatory approvals, supply chain, logistics and management, and supervision of offshore operations.