TAQA all done with large-scale North Sea decom project

TAQA all done with large-scale North Sea decom project

UAE’s oil and gas giant Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) has wrapped up a major decommissioning project in the North Sea.

Sleipnir removing the remaining Brae Bravo jacket; Source: TAQA

TAQA revealed last Thursday that it had completed the removal of the Brae Alpha West drilling rig and the Brae Bravo platform’s upper main jacket in the Northern North Sea.

According to the UAE-based player, the operation, which was the latest in its UKCS decommissioning programme, involved the removal and transport of more than 12,000 tonnes of material from the Brae field in the UK North Sea with the help of the HAF Consortium, Heerema Marine Contractors and AF Offshore Decom, which were contracted to execute this on behalf of TAQA.

The company took over the operatorship of the Brae area, located in the UK North Sea, from RockRose in 2020 following court proceedings brought on by TAQA and other partners in the field. First commissioned in 1988, the Brae Bravo platform was removed over three separate phases in 2021 and 2022, using two of the world’s largest semi-submersible crane vessels (SSCVs), Heerema’s Thialf and Sleipnir.

Based on TAQA’s announcement from May 2021, the first phase started in April and saw the two SSCVs simultaneously in the field for several days to prepare and ultimately remove the flare tower, bridge, and jacket. Within the second phase, Sleipnir removed the remaining topsides during two trips to the field during the summer of 2021, at which point the only remaining visible element of Brae Bravo was the top of the jacket above the sea surface.

For the third and final phase, a dedicated navigational aid was placed on the remaining structure and a 500-metre safety zone remained in place until jacket decommissioning was completed in 2022.

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In its latest update on this project, TAQA informed that Sleipnir first removed the 1,000-tonne Brae Alpha, in a single lift on 20 June and then moved to Brae Bravo to remove the 11,000-tonne upper main jacket. This forms part of TAQA’s decommissioning obligations and follows the removal of the Brae Bravo topsides modules and flare bridge, jacket and tower last summer.

Prior to the cessation of production in 2018, Brae Bravo produced more than 500 million barrels of oil equivalent over its 33-year life, while Brae Alpha began production in 1983.

Commenting on the project completion, Donald Taylor, TAQA Managing Director for Europe, remarked: “TAQA’s extensive late-life portfolio positions us at the forefront of decommissioning in the UK. By adopting valuable lessons learned during last year’s successful Brae Bravo topside removal campaign, we are continuing to develop our skills and capabilities supporting the transition from operations to removals and disposal.”

Sleipnir removing Brae Alpha; Source: TAQA
Sleipnir removing Brae Alpha; Source: TAQA

The company highlighted that the operation was completed with zero health and safety incidents. The Brae Alpha and the Brae Bravo jacket have been safely offloaded at the AFOD Environmental Base in Vats, Norway, and are being processed with the aim of reusing or recycling 95 per cent or more of the material, which is expected to be completed in 2023.

“The coming years offers some of the most interesting challenges and opportunities for our workforce and wider industry. TAQA is proud to pioneer this change while maximising the value of our assets and playing a valuable role in the energy transition,” concluded Taylor.

When it comes to TAQA’s energy transition projects, it is worth noting that the firm joined forces with ADNOC in December 2021 for offshore operations power project, described as a first-of-its-kind high-voltage, direct current (HVDC-VSC) subsea transmission system in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

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This project is expected to reduce the carbon footprint of ADNOC’s offshore operations by more than 30 per cent.