Buchan oil production vessel to be decommissioned in Shetland

Posted 2, Jun 17

After 36 years and almost 150mm barrels of oil, the Buchan Alpha facility in the UK North Sea ceased production, as planned, on 12 May 2017.

Buchan Alpha is a semi-submersible moored floating production vessel (originally a drilling rig). Decommissioning plans are well developed and ultimate dismantling and recycling of the vessel was competitively tendered. Repsol Sinopec Resources UK is pleased to announce the contract has been awarded to Veolia to be carried out at its Dales Voe site in Lerwick, Shetland.

Bill Dunnett, Managing Director, Repsol Sinopec Resources UK said:

“Buchan Alpha has made a huge contribution to the UK economy throughout its life, producing more than three times the volume of oil that was originally predicted. We are pleased the decommissioning phase will create further sustained value for the UK supply chain and additional employment for Shetland, building a new model for full facility decommissioning in the UK.


“I would also like to pay tribute to the offshore asset team, who have safely and professionally operated this facility up to its planned cessation of operations date and will continue to do so through decommissioning.”

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy said:

“This is great news, which clearly demonstrates the skills, capabilities and competitiveness of Scotland’s supply chain in securing this contract.  Decommissioning is an emerging, but growing, activity, with £17.6 billion expected to be spent in the North Sea over the next decade, as mature fields reach this stage in their project lifecycle.  We are already seeing Scottish-based firms seizing opportunities, and securing the lion’s share of value from a range of decommissioning activities, including project management of decommissioning programmes and high value, well-plugging and abandonment activity.”


“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting Scottish industry to win decommissioning activity such as the Buchan Alpha. The £5 million Decommissioning Challenge Fund and the Decommissioning Action Plan developed by our enterprise agencies, build on the Programme for Government commitment to identify investment opportunities, with a view to improving capacity at Scottish ports and increasing the economic return to Scotland from a variety of removal, disposal and dismantling activities to add to the success in well-plugging and abandonment and other stages of the process.”

Gunther Newcombe, Operations Director of the Oil & Gas Authority, said:

"Developing competitive decommissioning capability in the UK’s supply chain is a priority outlined in both the OGA’s decommissioning and supply chain strategies. The OGA is delighted to see the award of Buchan Alpha decommissioning to Veolia’s Dales Voe site in Shetland as this represents a major step in developing a deeper water decommissioning facility in the UK.”

Estelle Brachlianoff, Senior Executive Vice-President Veolia UK & Ireland said:

"We are delighted with the award of the prestigious Buchan Alpha decommissioning contract which reflects our proven safety and environmental track record and our commitment to delivering this project to the highest operational standards. We will be targeting a recycling rate of over 98% at the new Dales Voe decommissioning facility in Lerwick where we will work closely with our partners, Peterson and Lerwick Port Authority to boost the local economy by creating 35 jobs and develop strong relationships with the local community."

The vessel commenced production in 1981 from the Buchan field, located in blocks 21/1A and 20/5A, approximately 156km northeast of Aberdeen, and has subsequently also produced the nearby Hannay field.

Repsol Sinopec Resources UK has secured Oil & Gas Authority approval to suspend production of both the Buchan and Hannay fields and is conducting an area strategy review to screen potential field redevelopment options.