Thialf crane vessel; Source: Heerema Marine Contractors

Port of Blyth’s largest oil & gas decom gig underway for three North Sea platforms

The UK’s Port of Blyth is embarking on its largest oil and gas decommissioning project to date, covering several topsides and jackets from three North Sea platforms, which were removed by Heerema Marine Contractors’ second-largest semi-submersible crane vessel (SSCV), Thialf.

Thialf crane vessel; Source: Heerema Marine Contractors

Port of Blyth recently brought three topsides and three jackets – removed from the North Sea during a single mobilisation by Heerema Marine Contractors’ Thialf vessel – into its Battleship Wharf terminal, which is the home of the port’s decommissioning facility, operated in partnership with Thompsons of Prudhoe – the principal contractor and designer for the project.

According to Heerema, as part of the decommissioning campaign, DeepOcean is set to recover subsea infrastructure from six assets later this year. Now that the structures have been safely removed from the North Sea, they will be recycled by Thompsons of Prudhoe in the Port of Blyth. These structures were removed from two barges and transferred to the decommissioning facility using SPMTs, where they were then set down onto purpose-built stools ready for demolition.

With a combined weight of around 7,000 tonnes, Port of Blyth claims that the delivery showcases its handling capabilities which required “exceptional planning and a well-coordinated operation.” This project involved several contractors from the port’s supply chain, including Mammoet, which assisted with the SPMT operations, and Harlyn Solutions, providing support with design and engineering works during the load-out.

Martin Lawlor, Chief Executive at Port of Blyth, remarked: “By combining the port’s offshore energy cargo-related handling capabilities with Thompsons of Prudhoe’s decommissioning and demolition expertise, customers are able to rely on first-class service based on quality, safety, and performance. We have now established a great track record of successful high-profile decommissioning projects and are looking forward to supporting further decommissioning projects across the offshore energy sector.”

Arrival at the port; Source: Port of Blyth
Arrival at the port; Source: Port of Blyth

Following the safe delivery of the three topsides and jackets, Thompsons of Prudhoe will now progress with the structural inspection, surveys and make-safe, ahead of demolition, which will entail mechanical means and lifting operation. With all waste expected to be sorted and segregated as works progress, this will allow for a high percentage of recycling over the coming weeks and months.

Tom Koerner, Operations Director of Thompsons of Prudhoe, commented: “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to decommission these assets on behalf of our client. This project gives us a strong platform to demonstrate and promote our capabilities to the offshore industry for all future onshore dismantling and waste disposal requirements.”

Located on the UK’s east coast, midway between Aberdeen and Great Yarmouth, the decommissioning facility at the Port of Blyth offers a 2.3-ha designated site handling up to 50,000 tonnes of materials per year, including NORM. The port underlines that it is well-placed to serve all sectors of the North Sea.

Heerema carried out multiple decommissioning jobs over the past few years. One of these platform removal campaigns was also completed a few months ago by its Thialf vessel off the UK.

Related Article

The vessel wrapped up another decommissioning assignment in August 2022 by removing the Kinsale Alpha topside in the Celtic Sea.