Repsol Sinopec a joint venture between Repsol and Addax Petroleum, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinopec, advised that 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 named Drillmaster 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 Buchan oil field is a small oil field with small gas reserves in the central North Sea. It lies in an area known as the South Halibut Basin, approximately 120 miles (190 km) northeast of Aberdeen, Scotland, and is located mainly in license block 21/1A, extending into block 20/5A(E). The field was discovered in August 1974, two years after the issue date for those blocks.
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. 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.
The semi-submersible drilling rig Drillmaster, was the sister rig to the Alexander L. Kielland- which capsized in Norwegian waters due to a faulty weld, leading to the loss of 123 lives. (Source Repsol Sinopec)