Fairfield is currently consulting on plans for decommissioning the Dunlin Alpha platform which was formerly used for production of oil and gas from the Greater Dunlin Area.
A draft Decommissioning Programme for the Dunlin Alpha topsides, Concrete Gravity Base Substructure, and storage cell contents has been submitted to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for review. This is accompanied by a formal statutory and public consultation which Fairfield is undertaking in parallel with a regulatory consultation being conducted by BEIS.
The draft Decommissioning Programme and supporting documents set out the proposals, namely:
Fully remove the Dunlin Alpha topsides to shore, including all modules and modular support frame for re-use, recycling or final disposal on land.
2. Concrete Gravity Base Substructure (CGBS)
After removal of the topsides and upper conductor sections, to leave in place all four concrete legs and the steel transitions which extend above the water line, with navigation aids fitted to one of the legs. This was identified as the ‘most preferred’ decommissioning option when considered against four of the five primary criteria, namely Safety, Environment, Technical and Economic.
3. Cell Contents
To leave in place the residual contents of the Dunlin Alpha storage within the cells at the base of the CGBS, identified as the ‘most preferred’ decommissioning option (considered against more than 70 initial options examining recovery options, bioremediation, and capping possibilities). No credible options could be identified that would have enabled full removal of the residual cell contents, other than full removal of the entire substructure.
Key Consultation Documents
- Dunlin Alpha Decommissioning Programme
- Dunlin Alpha Comparative Assessment Report
- Dunlin Alpha Environmental Appraisal Report
- Dunlin Alpha Stakeholder Engagement Report
- Independent Review Group Report
- Dunlin Alpha Cell Contents Technical Report
- FAQ: Cell Contents
- Dunlin Alpha Drill Cuttings Report
- FAQ: Drill Cuttings
- Fairfield Waste Management Strategy
See also Link to Fairfield’s Key Event and Information Library for additional information.
Comments on the proposals are welcome from all those with an interest in the fate of the Dunlin Alpha, including the CGBS and storage cell contents. Further documentation referred to within the consultation documents where not already online can also be made available for inspection by arrangement.
The consultation closes on 14 September 2018, and comments, queries and requests for further information should be sent by email to: email@example.com
What Happens Next?
After collation of consultation responses and further discussions with BEIS, the draft Decommissioning Programme and supporting documents will be updated and refined as required. Additional discussion with stakeholders may be needed depending on the comments submitted.
The expectation is that BEIS will present a ‘derogation case’ to the Contracting Parties of the Oslo Paris Convention (OSPAR) whose Decision 98/3 allows for exceptions to be made from the normal requirement for disused offshore installations to be fully removed, such as in the case of concrete installations like Dunlin Alpha where there are significant reasons why an alternative disposal method is preferable rather than re-use, recycling or final disposal on land.
The final Decommissioning Programme will incorporate details of comments from statutory and public consultees indicating how these have been addressed. Following approval from the Secretary of State, the final version of the programme will be made available online and stakeholders notified.