All hands on deck for largest FPSO recycling operation

All hands on deck for Curlew FPSO recycling operation

Curlew FPSO load-outAF Gruppen

The largest recycling operation of a production vessel (FPSO) has started in Vats, Rogaland. As part of the decommissioning, the 235-metre-long Curlew FPSO that served Shell in the Central North Sea in the United Kingdom continental shelf was moved by COSCO Shipping Specialized’s M/V Xin Guang Hua.

The heavy-lift semi-submersible vessel performed the float-on and load-in operation of the 20,300 mt Curlew FPSO, setting a new world record in the process for the largest/heaviest SPMT operation, utilising 748 Axle lines.

This is the first time this type of vessel has been recycled in Norway. The production vessel, Curlew, was operated by Shell UK, and produced oil and gas from the Curlew field in the UK sector in the North Sea. The chosen decommissioning solution known as a float over- float in operation has never been used on such a large scale anywhere in the world. The contract was awarded to AF Offshore Decom through competitive tendering, and includes engineering, preparatory work, dismantling and recycling.

Dismantling and recycling of offshore installations and ships is an important part of the green transition. Here, Norwegian industry and engineering expertise have developed solutions that are at the forefront of the industry. This provides tangible evidence of the circular economy given nearly 97 percent of the ship can be used as raw materials in new production, with steel being used as rebar in new buildings, and all hazardous waste is taken out of the system and disposed of in a responsible manner.

“This is a very complex logistics project with significant marine operations. We are proud that we can carry out such complicated operations in a safe and environmentally sound manner,” says Lars Myhre Hjelmeset, Executive Vice President for Offshore in AF Gruppen.

All hands on deck for largest FPSO recycling operation
Float-on operation

The production vessel Curlew has been in operation in the UK sector of the North Sea and was transported to the facility at AF Environmental Base Vats in Rogaland in 2020. The preparations on the FPSO have been ongoing at AF Environmental Base for some time, and the float-over-float-in-operation was completed this week. Now the ship has been transported ashore in the largest single offloading of a production vessel that has been carried out in this way. The hull is now safely located on the quayside at AF Environmental Base Vats, ready for cleaning, dismantling and final recycling. These activities will start immediately and continue throughout 2023.

“We have considerable experience in recovering offshore installations and floating production vessels is another area where our expertise and approach is both relevant and internationally recognized. Complex operations like this show that Norwegian offshore and engineering expertise helps set the standard for safe and environmentally sound solutions,” says Lars Myhre Hjelmeset, Executive Vice President Offshore at AF Gruppen.

Author: Adnan Bajic

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