Brent Delta

Dismantling of Shell’s Brent Delta topside underway after Allseas completes record 24,000t single lift

Allseas’ dynamically positioned single-lift installation/decommissioning and pipelay vessel Pioneering Spirit set a world lifting record with the safe and successful removal of Shell UK’s 24,000 tonne Brent Delta platform from the North Sea on April 28th 2017.

Located in the Brent field, approximately 186km off the north-east coast of Shetland, the Brent Delta topsides sat on a three-legged gravity-based structure which stands in 140m of water. The topside was subsequently sea-fastened on board the Pioneering Spirit and transported to Able UK’s decommissioning yard in Teesside, North East England.

Shell’s Brent field, discovered in 1971, has produced three billion barrels of oil, equating to approximately 8% of the UK’s total production. Of the four Brent platforms, only one is still operational.

Welcoming the arrival of the Brent Delta to Able UK’s purpose-built offshore decommissioning facility on Teesside on May 2nd, the company’s founder and Executive Chairman Peter Stephenson said: “Today is a triumph for everyone involved in one of the heaviest lifts ever to take place – especially our partners Shell and Allseas, with whom we have worked for several years to meet the huge technical challenges involved.

“For our company, it is the clearest possible vindication of our determination to establish Able Seaton Port as a world-class facility. The Brent decommissioning project is the most significant project of its type to date and of crucial importance to us is the fact that Able was selected against an initial longlist of 131 potential disposal yards.” Mr Stephenson was speaking after the massive Brent Delta topside was brought in to the company’s Able Seaton Port in preparation for a decommissioning process which will see at least 97 per cent of the structure recycled.

Mr Stephenson added: “It has involved a big commitment on our part – we have invested circa £28million in the new quay and associated developments – we believe that the investment is worthwhile, not just for this contract but the potential for us to be at the forefront of a business which is set to grow to meet the need to decommission platforms as they come to the end of their operational lives.

“This marks the start of our work on the Brent Delta platform. The next stage over the coming days will be its transfer to the new Quay Six after which we will conduct detailed surveys in preparation for the decommissioning programme which we expect to complete within 12 months.”

Able UK also has a contract from Shell to dismantle the Brent Bravo and Alpha platforms and a jacket structure.