Photo: Balmoral FPV; Source: Premier Oil

Premier gets the nod for Balmoral decommissioning plans

Premier Oil’s decommissioning plans for the Balmoral field, located in the UK North Sea, have been approved by UK authorities.

Balmoral field layout - Premier Oil
Balmoral field layout; Source: Premier Oil

Premier Oil submitted its decommissioning programs to the UK authorities back in September 2020.

The document contains the decommissioning programs for the Balmoral floating production vessel (FPV) and field subsea installations and pipelines.

A Cessation of Production application for the field has been discussed with and submitted to the Oil and Gas Authority, and was approved on 23 April 2018.

The Greater Balmoral Area consists of the Premier Oil-operated subsea fields Balmoral, Brenda, Nicol, Stirling and Glamis, all of which are tied back to the Balmoral FPV.

Two further subsea fields, Burghley and Beauly, which are operated by Repsol Sinopec, are also tied-back to the Balmoral FPV. Repsol Sinopec, as the operator, will submit decommissioning programs for Burghley and Beauly.

The Balmoral field and FPV are located approximately 225 km northeast of Aberdeen in UKCS Block 16/21a and 16/21b in a water depth of 145m LAT.

Balmoral field map - Premier Oil
Balmoral field map; Source: Premier Oil

The FPV, installed in 1986, is a purpose-built floating platform of the GVA 5000 semi-submersible design and is located on-station by a mooring system made up of eight chains connected to anchor piles.

The FPV provides accommodation, utilities and hydrocarbon processing and export facilities. The drilling facilities were suspended in 1996 and have not been used since.

Production from the Balmoral field came online during November 1986.

The FPV is the processing centre and produced hydrocarbons are exported via the Forties Pipeline System.

The main components of the field consist of; the Balmoral FPV, Balmoral Template, 11 template and 10 satellite wells, a riser system, pipelines, umbilicals and cables.

Under the decommissioning plans, the FPV will be towed from the field to a suitable quayside location for preparation for re-use or decommissioning, the fate of which will be determined by the owners.

The owners will be responsible for taking reasonable measures to assure itself that proposals to re-use the vessel will be credible, and that disposal of the FPV will be in compliance with the IMO Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.

Furthermore, the mooring chains will be recovered to the point of burial at the anchor pile.

In addition, subsea installations will be returned to shore for recycling or appropriate treatment and disposal and trenched and buried rigid, stable pipelines will be left in situ.

Trenched and buried flexible pipelines, umbilicals, spools and jumpers will be removed to shore for recycling or appropriate treatment and disposal.