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    Tidal energy project to be constructed in the Pentland Firth (Friday, 22 August 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    The construction of a major tidal energy project in the Pentland Firth is set to begin later this year.The MeyGen scheme has secured £50m in funding.More than £20m will come from the Scottish government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.The scheme's backers say that, when completed, it will include up to 269 turbines submerged on the seabed and generate enough energy for 175,000 homes.The Crown Estate, which manages the UK seabed, has invested £10m in the project.The body's director of energy and infrastructure, Rob Hastings, said: "This is part of our strategy to explore the potential of tidal stream energy on a commercial scale with a project that offers a crucial stepping stone on the path towards unlocking the nation's tidal energy potential over the long term."Source:

    Premier evacuates workers from Balmoral (Friday, 22 August 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    Premier Oil-operated Balmoral floating production vessel in the UK North Sea has reportedly been evacuated.According to a local news source, Premier-oil last night removed all non-essential personnel from the unit, due to a lack of lifeboat capacity on the installation.The source quoted a Premier Oil spokesperson who said that it would take three days “to return to full lifeboat capacity.”When contacted, an HSE spokesperson said:“HSE can confirm that we are aware [of the Balmoral evacuation] and making initial enquiries”Premier Oil did not reply to an e-mail seeking comment.The Balmoral FPV, anchored 200 kilometers northeast of Aberdeen,  is a combined production, drilling, diving and quarters semi-submersible. The unit is designed for the Balmoral field, and has been operating permanently on location since first oil in November 1986.The Balmoral area fields – Balmoral, Stirling, Brenda & Nicol – are located in Blocks 16/21a and 16/21b in the UK Central North Sea.This is the second North Sea platform evacuation in only two days. Oil giant Shell on Tuesday removed non-essential workers from its Nelson platform after a power outage.Source:

    Shell evacuates Nelson platform after power outage (Thursday, 21 August 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    Shell has evacuated workers from its Nelson platform in the UK part of the North Sea after a power outage.Non-essential personnel were flown to the Borgholm Dolphin accommodation rig also know as flotel.The news has been confirmed by The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which, when contacted, said it has been informed by Shell of partial downmanning.In an e-mail a Shell spokesperson said:“Shell UK Limited can confirm that there was a power outage yesterday on the Nelson platform, which is located approximately 124 miles East North East of Aberdeen.  Nelson was shut down for maintenance at the time and was not producing oil or gas.“Work to restore main power on the platform continues with essential staff on board. As a precaution a non-emergency operation to remove staff to the nearby Borgholm Dolphin flotel was carried out yesterday. Personnel will be transported back to the Nelson platform or to Aberdeen over the next 48 hours as appropriate. There are no reports of any injuries as a result of this outage.“The relevant authorities have been informed.”The Nelson installation is a Shell-operated platform located 124 miles East North East of Aberdeen.Source:

    Shetland to become leading Decom hub in Northern North Sea? (Thursday, 21 August 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    Shetland is bidding to become a global leader in a multi-billion pound industry as a result of over £20million of investment announced by Cabinet Secretary John Swinney today.A set of multi-million pound investments by Lerwick Port Authority and international energy logistics company Peterson aims to create a decommissioning centre of excellence around Lerwick.Lerwick Port Authority (LPA) is undertaking a £11.95m quayside infrastructure project at Dales Voe South in order to support the development of oil and gas decommissioning in Shetland. The expansion will support around 120 permanent island jobs.Deep Water ShetlandIn addition, Peterson (United Kingdom) Ltd is proposing investments up to £8.64m in its ‘Deep Water Shetland’ project to further support and expand its existing decommissioning capability. Working jointly with its partners in decommissioning, Veolia, the project could create around 67 high value jobs and add around £10m to the local economy.The growing oil and gas decommissioning industry has a current market value of between £30 billion and £40 billion in the North Sea. These two strategic investments announced today will secure Shetland’s place as a globally-significant decommissioning centre of excellence, in support of a hugely successful oil and gas supply chain in Scotland. The facility will be the only one of its kind in Scotland, placing Shetland at the international forefront of an emerging sector which promises many more decades of lucrative activity for the industry.Funds approvedBoth projects are supported by the Scottish Government and economic development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). HIE has approved £628,000 to Peterson and a further £1,195,000 to Lerwick Port Authority, including £324,416 through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). LPA has also been awarded £1.2m from the Scottish Government.Peterson has also been awarded £1.1m of Regional Selective Assistance (RSA), from by Scottish Enterprise. As a result, 67 new jobs are to be created at the company as part of the 120 jobs supported by both projects.Announcing this investment, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth John Swinney said: “As recently highlighted by Scotland’s independent Expert Commission on Oil and Gas, the decommissioning of North Sea assets presents a huge opportunity for the Scottish oil and gas supply chain. The Scottish Government is committed to working with the industry to mobilise investment by the oil and gas supply chain to ensure that the Total Value Added from decommissioning expenditure is optimised, generating both jobs and growth for the Scottish economy.“Scottish companies have a world class reputation for innovation in the oil and gas sector. Through developing products and processes for successful decommissioning we will strengthen Scotland’s strategic advantage and if managed successfully, the North Sea oil and gas industry has the potential to become a global leader in this sector.“The Scottish Government is committed to investing in the necessary infrastructure to support decommissioning activity in Scotland, this is demonstrated through the public support provided to these two projects of strategic importance, enabling Scotland to compete with Norway in winning contracts for lucrative decommissioning work.“The skills and experience gained through decommissioning projects in the North Sea will result in increased demand for these services internationally for decades to come. This will offer a huge opportunity for Scottish based supply chain companies to build on their existing success worldwide – now operating in over 100 countries and having achieved £10 billion in international sales in 2012.Welcoming the financial support, Sandra Laurenson, Lerwick Port Authority Chief Executive, commented:“The Dales Voe South development is in line with our strategy to meet the changing requirements of port users and expand Shetland’s resources. Almost trebling the quay to 130 metres, its design, length and strength will future-proof the deep water port for handling a wide range of opportunities and contractors. The load-bearing capacity of 60 tonnes per square metre will make the extension unique in Scotland and be another major selling point for Lerwick when available in 2016.“Peterson’s plans will also mean another significant addition to the port’s decommissioning capabilities and to the benefits to Shetland.”Murdo MacIver Board Director of Peterson Offshore Group said: “This support shall secure and enhance Shetland’s position to become a leading hub for decommissioning works in the Northern North Sea. The investment Peterson has made in facilities and capabilities in Shetland is part of a wider growth strategy where the decommissioning market is a particular focus. Along with our partner Veolia, we already have valuable experience in the completion of a number of decommissioning projects and we believe this experience, matched with greater facilities will earn Shetland the position as a world leader.”Katrina Wiseman, Head of Regional Development at HIE, said: “HIE has supported both Lerwick Port Authority and Peterson over a number of years as each has invested in Shetland and increased decommissioning activities. The development of a centre of excellence for decommissioning is hugely significant for Shetland, and will sustain the leading role the islands have played in North Sea oil and gas from the very beginning.“Peterson already has a firm reputation in this fast-growing industry from the Greenhead Base and its investment, coupled with the expansion at Lerwick Harbour, will position Scotland as a leader in the international decommissioning market. By enabling Peterson to bid for contracts that may otherwise go elsewhere this project will not only be of huge benefit to the local economy but to the industry supply chain across Scotland.”Source:

    ‘Prospector 5+apos; rig arrives in Cromarty Firth (Thursday, 21 August 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    A giant heavy-lift and transportation ship has arrived in the Cromarty Firth, Scotland, carrying the jack-up drilling rig Prospector 5.According to MarineTraffic website, which monitors real-time ship locations, port arrivals and departures, the Black Marlin has today arrived in Cromarty Firth where it is now anchored, approximately 5 miles to the east of Invergordon.Following a two-month journey from China, where the Prospector 5 rig was built, the 217.5 meters long ‘Black Marlin’ semi-submersible transportation vessel, owned by Dockwise, will unload the rig near Invergordon.The Black Marlin vessel last week stopped in the Falmouth bay for refuelling. The vessel carrying The Prospector 5 rigThe Prospector 5, of the F&G JU 2000E design, is owned by Prospector Offshore. It was built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (SWS) shipyard in Shanghai China.Capable of operations in water depths up to 400 ft, the Prospector 5, is the second rig delivered to Prospector Offshore.The first, Prospector 1, was delivered to the owner in September last year. It was built in China, but in a different shipyard, Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Offshore Co., Ltd. (DSIC Offshore).Both rigs, equipped to drill wells in high pressure/high temperature environments up to 35,000 feet,  have been hired by Total, a France-based oil company, for drilling operations in the UK North Sea.The Prospector 5 will now undergo its acceptance process before moving to Total’s Elgin location to start its three year charter contract at $218,000 per day.Prospector Offshore Drilling, the owner of the rig, expects the rig will begin its contracted work for Total in mid-September.Source:

    Wood Group hail North East acquisition Pyeroy+apos;s part in revenue boost (Wednesday, 20 August 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    The international oil and gas services firm acquired Pyeroy in 2013 and say its performance has helped its North Sea divisionMajor oil and gas services provider Wood Group say growth at its recently acquired Pyeroy has fuelled a 15% rise in profits.The FTSE 250 listed company acquired Gateshead-based Pyeroy in 2013 and contract renewals are benefitting its North Sea business.In a message to shareholders Wood Group reported total revenue of $3,801.2m, up 10% in the six months ended June 30.Group EBITDA at the international group dropped from $119.8m in the same six month period in 2013, to $108.8m.A statement within the results read: “Our North Sea business has remained robust and is benefitting from growth in Pyeroy, acquired in July 2013.“In the first half, we secured a five year renewal of the Talisman Sinopec engineering and maintenance services contract, an extension to our operations and maintenance contract with Chevron North Sea and also a new contract with independent Iona Energy.“The increased focus on operator efficiency, with the UK oil and gas sector’s costs rising an estimated 15% last year, prompted us to cut contractor rates by 10% in May, reducing our overall cost to the customer and positioning us well for future opportunities.”Wood Group attributed a EBITA growth of 47% in its Production Services business to its US shale activities, including those of Elkhorn, acquired in 2013.Pyeroy Group Limited employs around 1,800 people at eight locations throughout the UK and Ireland.Source:

    Lloyd’s Register’s launches new +apos;Rules for Offshore Units+apos; document (Wednesday, 20 August 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    Lloyd’s Register has launched its new Rules for Offshore Units in one single document following an in-depth consultation with industry.It signals a move by the world’s oldest classification and certification society, to modernise the way in which Rules and their guidance notes are presented to industry – and importantly how they are used by designers and operators of Offshore Units.“Our aim has been to take Class a step forward by providing an easy to use Rule set for our clients where content is straightforward to read, understand and apply,” said Richard Nott, VP of Operations for Lloyd’s Register’s Compliance Services business.“The challenge with any Rule set is to convey complex and technical requirements without extensive and unnecessary cross-referencing, ensuring that users are able to concentrate on the work in hand, rather than frequently having to refer to an extensive library of reference documentation. We have made improvements to better support industry in their decision making with a new Rules set that provides complete transparency for the design, construction and lifetime maintenance of offshore units, enabling these assets to be classed efficiently and resulting in improved safety.”The new Rule set sees the amalgamation of Lloyd’s Register’s Rules for Mobile Offshore Units (MOU) and the Rules for Floating Offshore Installations at a Fixed Location (FOIFL). For the first time, all floating offshore asset types are included in one document, which is available for download HERE.“In addition to the consolidation of the MOU and FOIFL Rules, we have introduced topics that are new to the Rule set and include new technical content on naval architecture, fire protection, high voltage electrical equipment, cryogenic spill and LNG offloading, among others.”Lloyd’s Register continuously develops its Rules and guidelines through industry consultation and its annual meeting of the Offshore Technical Committee, which this year took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with representatives from offshore owners, operators, designers and shipyards from around the globe.“We see this move to simplify and improve our Rules as another good example of the level of service industry expects from a world class safety and risk management provider such as Lloyd’s Register,” claimed Nott.Rule and Guidelines download:

    EnQuest celebrates North Sea safety milestone (Tuesday, 19 August 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    Independent oil producer EnQuest has achieved a significant safety milestone after recording a total of 11 years without a lost time incident (LTI) across three of its North Sea producing assets.The Heather drilling team achieved eight years without an LTI, and during this period EnQuest completed its return to drilling (R2D2) project which led to the start-up of drilling on the platform for the first time since 2006. The R2D2 project is part of a redevelopment programme that will extend the life of the Heather platform, which has twice faced decommissioning in the past, to around 2030.On EnQuest’s Northern Producer floating production facility, two years without an LTI has been achieved while successful drilling has ensured the Don fields have continued to underpin EnQuest’s growth. Operations on the Thistle platform have been LTI-free for a year, during which period platform drilling followed by a major construction phase of the Thistle Life Extension (LLX) programme, were carried out. The combination of successful drilling and LLX power upgrades also delivered the highest production levels since the 1990s.Neil McCulloch, President of EnQuest’s North Sea business, said: “This is an exceptional achievement by our teams on three North Sea assets that started life in the 1970s, and under EnQuest’s stewardship are now undergoing major redevelopment and investment to extend their life and ensure they continue producing safely for many years to come.“We’ve had zero recordable incidents anywhere in our portfolio year to date in 2014, and are approaching incident-free operations where we have zero safety or production incidents. At EnQuest we recognise that good HSE performance goes hand in hand with good business performance, and that both are outcomes of high quality operations. The safety of our people and protection of the environment are vital to maintaining a successful and sustainable business and it takes a huge amount of commitment, focus and drive from every person across our offshore installations and our wider support team to deliver results like this.“The industry is facing some real challenges but this achievement goes to show that with the right strategy, the right peple and the right approach to safety, there are still some great success stories coming out of the North Sea.”Rune Lorentzen, President of Offshore for KCA Deutag, one of the world’s leading drilling and engineering contractors said: “We have built a strong, long term relationship with EnQuest through our drilling work on the Thistle and Heather platforms. This has been achieved through our mutual commitment to delivering safe, effective operations and we are proud that KCA Deutag has played a part in EnQuest’s LTI success.”EnQuest, which is the largest UK independent producer in the UK North Sea, has established a considerable track record in maximising production from ageing assets.The company’s Thistle LLX project was formulated as a means of recovering millions of extra barrels of oil from the Thistle and Deveron fields and is now recognised as a proven template for mature field development in the North Sea. The first phase of the LLX programme started in 2010 with a successful rig reactivation project which saw EnQuest bring Thistle drilling back online to drill its first new wells in 20 years.Heather represents EnQuest’s second major redevelopment project with R2D2 forming part of a strategy to target some of the 360 million barrels of oil estimated to remain in the field.Sources:

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