This summer we are removing a 181-metre tall loading buoy from the Statfjord field.​

"The towing started on the night of Saturday," says Bård Henning Borsheim, assignment manager for the Statfjord C loading buoy removal project.

"We need good weather," he says. "That is why the loading buoy is being towed in July, when the probability of good weather is highest and the risk is lowest."


Bård Henning Borsheim, assignment
manager for the Statfjord C loading
buoy removal project.
(Photo: Eva Sleire)

It will take 3-6 days to tow the loading buoy weighing more than 8,000 tons to shore, depending on the wind conditions.

The buoy will be scrapped at AF Decom Offshore's plant in Vats north of Stavanger. It will be anchored in the Yrkes fiord for up to two weeks to allow special waste such as lighting fixtures, fire extinguishers, fire detectors, batteries, luminous tubes and oil deposits to be removed before the buoy is moved onshore for scrapping.

Several projects

According to the OSPAR (Oslo-Paris) convention oil installations that are no longer in use must, as a general rule, be removed.

The other two loading buoys on the Statfjord field have already been removed and scrapped and have been replaced by a new loading system. Statoil has also removed several subsea installations earlier.

"This summer we will also remove the Troll Oseberg Gas injection (TOGI) subsea template from the Troll field. This will be done in August," says Thor Erling Haug, who is in charge of both this project and the loading buoy project on behalf of Statoil's TPD projects entity.

Statoil has also, on behalf of Gassco, taken responsibility for removing the 2/4S l jacket from the Ekofisk field centre, as well as the H7/B11 compressor platforms from the German sector of the North Sea. They have been part of the distribution network for gas export to Europe. They will be removed in the period 2013-2015.

First platform

So far Statoil has not removed any of its platforms. We did remove some subsea templates from the Yme field when we terminated production on the field in 2001, but the main platform was a jackup rig which sailed to a different location.

Improved recovery has extended the life of many Statoil fields, and the scheduled removal dates have therefore been postponed. This is the case of our oldest platform, Statfjord A, which came on stream in 1979.

Plans call for Statfjord A production until 2016. But while new production wells are being drilled on the field the platform removal process is being planned:

"Starting these preparations in 2010 we are now in the process of preparing an impact assessment to be distributed for comments," says Thor Viggo Aarrestad, who is head of the Statfjord A removal project.

It may not be the case though that the first platform to be installed will be the first to be removed. The Huldra platform, which is also located in the North Sea, is already for sale. Current plans call for its production termination in 2014/2015.​​​​​​​​​​​​​