Heerema and AF Offshore Decom have commenced one of the largest topside removal projects of its kind in the North Sea on behalf of client Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA), one of the largest listed integrated utility companies in the Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The Brae Bravo removal campaign is the first major asset removal project for TAQA, and as a late-life asset operator in the UK, safety and environmental impact principles are at the centre of the project for TAQA and its partners. The Brae Bravo platform, first commissioned in 1988, is being removed over three separate phases in 2021 and 2022, using Thialf and Sleipnir, two of the world’s largest Semi-Submersible Crane Vessels (SSCVs); each greater than 200 meters in length.
‘Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we have mobilized as many as 500 people to our vessels safely. This accomplishment was only possible due to the close collaboration with our client TAQA and consortium partner AF Offshore Decom. We are proud to execute this historic project’ noted Heerema CEO Koos-Jan van Brouwershaven.
After removal the topside and jacket will be transported to the AF Environmental Base in Vats, Norway for further decommissioning, recycling and reuse; aiming for a 95% recycling or reuse target.
“This type of operation requires careful planning and we’re proud that we have managed to mobilize personnel in a safe and secure manner in the midst of a pandemic. We’re looking forward to continuing the partnership and ensuring a good process for recycling the platform”, says Lars Myhre Hjelmeset, Managing Director of AF Offshore Decom.
The first campaign, which began in April, saw the two SSCVs simultaneously in the field, working in unison for several days to prepare and ultimately remove the flare tower, bridge, and jacket. Thialf remains in the field to complete final preparatory works and module separation to allow final removal in the summer. Campaign 2 will see Sleipnir remove the remaining topsides in two trips to the field during the summer of 2021, at which point the only remaining visible element of Brae Bravo will be the top of the jacket above the sea surface. A dedicated navigational aid will be placed on the remaining structure and a 500-metre safety zone will remain in place until jacket decommissioning is completed in 2022.
Donald Taylor, TAQA Managing Director for Europe, commented: “TAQA Europe is embarking on one of the largest decommissioning exercises in the North Sea to date. The Brae Bravo has been an integral part of the Brae fields for more than three decades with the size and scale of the platform, including the topside structure, almost the height of the London Eye.
“The arrival of Thialf in the field was a historic occasion, heralding the moment when we started converting many years of planning into practical implementation.
“Over the last 33 years, Brae Bravo has been an important contributor to the UK oil and gas industry with many people having long-standing connections to the platform. This project will involve more than 500 people working offshore on the programme during peak decommissioning operations, and we are committed to delivering safe and efficient execution of this milestone.
“It’s important to recognise the efforts of the project team, including our suppliers and contractors, who have contributed, despite the challenges resulting from the Covid-19.”