World’s Largest Crane Vessels Meet for Removal of North Sea Platform

For the first time in the North Sea, two semi-submersible crane vessels, both ranked first and second in size worldwide, collaborated to undertake the remarkable endeavor.

Starting in the North Sea, one of the major topside removal operations entails removing the platform from one of the area's biggest oil and gas wells. This came into action since the staff left the platform around two years ago.

TAQA, an Abu Dhabi-based energy holding firm, appointed Heerema and AF Offshore Decom to execute their first-ever significant assets removal project. The Brae Bravo platform, which was launched in 1988 and yielded over 94,000 barrels per day at its peak, was one of the most efficient in the world. The Brae Bravo is located in Scotland around 100 miles eastwards to the Shetland Islands. Its demolition commenced in December 2017, with the final staff departing in July 2019.

"TAQA Europe is undertaking one of North Sea's most important decommissioning exercises to date," stated Donald Taylor, Europe's TAQA Manager.

This, the semi-submersible crane vessel from Heerema is among the world's two largest cranes. It was built in 1985 and is competent of a tandem lift of 14,200 tonnes with the assistance of its two cranes.

With the introduction of the SSCV Sleipnir in 2019, Thialf slipped to the second position on the list of the largest crane vessels around the globe. The two ships, each more than 650 feet long, are used for this project.

Recently, they met in the North Sea for the first time to commence the first round of the three-stage project which will run until 2022.

The initial part of the project began recently with the deployment of two SSCVs in the field for many days to prepare for and eventually remove the flare tower, bridge, and jacket. The Thialf stayed in the field to perform concluding preparatory operations and module separation in preparation for its summer removal. The Sleipnir is expected to resume work in summer 2021 to remove the remaining topsides, leaving only the tip of the jacket visible above the water's surface. Until the jacket decommissioning is completed by 2022, a specialized navigational aid will be installed on the remaining structure, along with a 500-meter safety zone.

Have a look at the decommissioning site in the North Sea with FleetMon Explorer for real-time vessel tracking.

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