Highlands & Islands

Decommissioning equipment heads for Beatrice field

Beatrice platforms Image copyright Repsol Sinopec Resources UK
Image caption The Beatrice platform complex is to eventually be removed

A rig to be used in the decommissioning of the Beatrice oil field has left Invergordon on the Cromarty Firth.

The jack up unit Ensco 80 is expected to arrive at the field's Charlie platform in the Moray Firth over the weekend.

The rig is to be used in the plugging and abandoning of wells and a clean-up of Beatrice's platform complex.

Full decommissioning of the field's facilities could take place between 2024 and 2027.

Production at the field has ceased and it has been proposed to remove the platform complex, two demonstrator wind turbines and cables.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) had an interest in using the complex as a training facility, but it has decided not to pursue this idea further.

This decision means a decommissioning programme approved by the UK government in 2004 has been updated and widened out to include the removal of the field's platforms and other structures.

Energy company Repsol Sinopec Resources UK set out details last month of the planned decommissioning and uploaded an environmental impact assessment scoping report online.

The field, about 13 miles (22km) off the Caithness coast, forms part of the site of a massive planned offshore wind farm project.

The planned decommissioning project involves the removal of five platform structures and power cables.

Forty three wells in the field are to be "plugged" and abandoned.

Two wind turbines installed to show that the firth is suitable for a large-scale offshore wind farm are also to be removed.

The turbines were installed in two phases with the first in 2006 and the second in 2007.

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