The Buchan Alpha oil production vessel has arrived safely in Lerwick, Shetland for disposal.
A semi-submersible moored floating production vessel, weighing 12,000 tonnes, Buchan Alpha was built in 1973 as a drilling rig and converted for production purposes in Stornoway between 1978-80.
The vessel commenced production in 1981 from the Buchan field, located in blocks 21/1A and 20/5A, and has subsequently also produced the nearby Hannay field. Production ceased, as planned, on 12 May 2017 having produced around 148mm barrels of oil.
The contract for disposal was internationally tendered and awarded to Veolia working with their strategic partner in decommissioning, Peterson, who have a proven safety and environmental track record in the decommissioning of oil and gas assets.
The work will be carried out at the Dales Voe site in Lerwick. Buchan Alpha is believed to be the first major North Sea floating production facility to be disposed of in Scotland.
Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “I am delighted that we have now seen the safe arrival of the Buchan Alpha in Lerwick. This is great news for Shetland and a clear sign of the opportunities available in this emerging market. The decommissioning of the Buchan Alpha provides Scotland and our supply chain with the opportunity to demonstrate our skills, capabilities and competitiveness in this area.
Off-station work on Buchan Alpha has been ongoing, with the primary objectives of cleaning, and reducing topsides weight in preparation for tow. It will initially be moored offshore Lerwick in deeper water where the thrusters will be removed to reduce the draught, allowing it to be moved to the quayside within the next few weeks.
Veolia will then begin the dismantling of the steel structure to maximise the recycling rate with the aim of achieving 98% recycling rates.