Pioneering Spirit removes third platform from Brent field

Pioneering Spirit has completed her first decommissioning job of summer 2020, single-lift removal of Shell UK’s 17,000-tonne Brent Alpha platform from the North Sea.

Pioneering Spirit removes third platform from Brent field
Photo: Allseas

Pioneering Spirit will now deliver the 44-year old structure to Able UK’s Teesside decommissioning yard in North East England for dismantling and recycling.

The removal of Alpha is the first offshore lift to utilise Allseas' in-house developed “horseshoes”, connection tools that clamp around pre-installed lift points (bearing brackets) mounted on the upper sections of the jacket’s legs.

The Brent Alpha topsides removal project involves engineering, preparation, removal and disposal of the 94 m tall, 52 m wide structure. As with the two previous Brent jobs, Pioneering Spirit  will transport the Alpha topsides to a nearshore location off the Hartlepool coastline, where it will be transferred to Allseas’ cargo barge Iron Lady  for the final leg of its journey by towage up the Seaton Channel and load-in to the quay at Able UK.

Boluda Towage Europe’s powerful tug “VB Kracht” was involved in the assistance of the cargo barge Iron Lady during the transfer of the topsides from the Pioneering Spirit to the Iron Lady and the tow of the barge to the Able UK decommissioning yard in Teesside, North East England.

Boluda’s VB Kracht, together with three tugs, towed the Iron Lady, loaded with the Brent Alpha topside, out of the slot of the Pioneering Spirit into the river Tees, for the transport to Able UK’s decommissioning yard and arrived by early evening.

With the entrance channel to the Able UK decommissioning yard being narrow and tidal restricted, this final part of the journey required in-depth towage expertise and powerful, versatile tugs. The towage operations were carefully prepared in close cooperation with Allseas.