Vahall DP jacket toppling; Source: Aker Solutions (video)

Watch start of jacket toppling ops for old North Sea platform at Aker Solutions’ yard

Norwegian oilfield services provider Aker Solutions is about to recycle the 7,900 tonnes of steel foundation from an old drilling platform, which was used at an oil field in the North Sea.

Vahall DP jacket toppling; Source: Aker Solutions (video)

Aker Solutions reported on Thursday, 23 February 2023, that it had carried out the first of three toppling operations for the Valhall jacket at its yard in Stord, Norway. After pulling down parts of the structure, the firm will continue with machine-based cutting and processing of the structure at ground level, so that, “we minimise work at height for our employees. Sustainability and safety go best hand in hand,” outlined the Norwegian player.

The company says that it will recycle the 7,900 tonnes of steel foundation from the third Valhall platform with “an astonishing 100 per cent recycling rate.” Aker BP’s eight-legged, 80-metre-tall Valhall platform was built in Verdal in 1980. It was used at the Valhall field since production started more than 42 years ago.

Located in the southern part of the Norwegian sector of the North Sea at a water depth of 70 metres, the Valhall field was discovered in 1975, and the initial PDO was approved in 1977. Originally, the field was developed with three facilities for accommodation (QP), drilling (DP) and processing (PCP).

The production at the field started in 1982 with the Valhall area consisting of a field centre with five platforms connected by bridges, and four remotely controlled wellhead platforms from the field centre. The field is powered by electricity from the shore.

As a reminder, Allseas’ giant vessel Pioneering Spirit removed the accommodation platform (QP) topsides from the Valhall field in 2019, followed by the jacket in 2021. The platform was the first of the three original structures (QP, DP and PCP) to be removed as part of the modernisation of the Valhall field centre by Aker BP.

Furthermore, Pioneering Spirit completed the removal of the PCP topsides on 7 June 2022, as part of the frame agreement Allseas signed with Aker BP in 2017 to provide transport, installation, and removal services on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The removal of the PCP topsides came just 24 hours after the removal of the adjacent DP jacket, following the final leg cutting by supporting vessel Oceanic, and prior to that the PCP bridges.

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According to Aker Solutions, decommissioning the original Valhall installations concludes “a fascinating chapter” in the Norwegian oil and gas story, as Valhall has produced over a billion barrels of oil equivalent since the original field entered production. Two of its platforms were recycled at Stord and this third one will be decommissioned by year-end 2023.

“While the Valhall originals will live on as raw materials, Aker Solutions is helping Aker BP extend the life of the remaining Valhall centre an extra 40 years. Across the bay from the sprawling decommissioning facility is the newbuild assembly area, where the topside of a new Valhall production and wellhead platform will be assembled,” explained the company.

Aker Solutions claims that the recycling of the oilfield’s older structures is revealing “an afterlife for all that steel,” as recycled material and equipment from the old Valhall platforms could find their way onto the newbuild topside.

Vahall DP jacket toppling; Source: Aker Solutions (video)

Watch Vahall DP jacket toppling

Regarding Aker Solutions’ activities elsewhere, it is worth noting that the Norwegian player recently formed a new joint venture with Drydocks World Dubai, a part of DP World, enabling the two firms to work together on upgrading an FPSO for one of the largest undeveloped oil fields in the UK.

Before this, Aker Solutions secured multiple contracts with Aker BP in December 2022, representing the largest value of contract awards in a single quarter in the firm’s history.

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One of these projects is Valhall PWP – Fenris (formerly King Lear). Thanks to this deal, Aker Solutions will provide EPC and offshore hook-up of the 15,500 tons Valhall production and wellhead platform (PWP), including its jacket substructure as well as a bridge, which will be executed with Aker BP and ABB Norway, and EPC and offshore hook-up of the 2,600 tons Fenris unmanned wellhead platform and its substructure.

The fabrication of the Valhall PWP topside and its jacket is planned to start in 4Q 2023 while the fabrication of the Fenris platform is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2023. In addition, Aker Solutions will provide the modification work of the existing Valhall field centre to enable the tie-in of the Valhall PWP- and Fenris platforms to the existing facilities.