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The 1,600-tonne former gas platform coming ashore at Great Yarmouth to be recycled

PUBLISHED: 10:48 12 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:48 12 July 2017

The topside of the Shell Leman BH platform being lowered into position at Great Yarmouth for decommissioning. Picture: Veolia-Peterson.

The topside of the Shell Leman BH platform being lowered into position at Great Yarmouth for decommissioning. Picture: Veolia-Peterson.

Veolia-Peterson

It’s more than 50m high, weighs at least 1,600 tonnes, and has been living at sea for decades - but it has now come ashore at Great Yarmouth.

The topside of the Shell Leman BH platform which has arrived at Great Yarmouth for decommissioning. Picture: Veolia-Peterson. The topside of the Shell Leman BH platform which has arrived at Great Yarmouth for decommissioning. Picture: Veolia-Peterson.

The first offshore structure for decommissioning has arrived at the town’s outer harbour, ready to be stripped down and recycled after the end of its operational life in the Southern North Sea.

The former Shell Leman BH platform accommodation block, known as the ‘topside’, was brought in to the site operated by a partnership of Veolia and Peterson on Tuesday, while its supporting structure will follow later in July.

The contract was awarded to the partnership by Boskalis, which is responsible for offshore removal and transport operations, and is aiming to recycle and reuse 97% of the material in the platform.

Estelle Brachlianoff of Veolia UK and Ireland said: “These are valuable assets in our seas and by decommissioning these platforms we can unlock resources to give them a second, third or even fourth life.

The topside of the Shell Leman BH platform arriving at Great Yarmouth for decommissioning. Picture: Veolia-Peterson. The topside of the Shell Leman BH platform arriving at Great Yarmouth for decommissioning. Picture: Veolia-Peterson.

“This latest project will continue to show how we can maximise the recycling of these platforms and drive sustainability in the industry.

“Our partnership has successfully delivered a number of projects over the last 10 years, [and] this latest one will further the growth of the business and local opportunities in Great Yarmouth.”

The topside was previously used as living quarters for 48 personnel working on the Leman BT and Leman BK platforms, 50km off the coast of Norfolk in the Southern North Sea. It became redundant following the decommissioning of the latter platform in the mid 1990s.

Peterson’s regional director Ron van der Laan said: “This project is a positive sign for Veolia-Peterson in Great Yarmouth, and follows the award of two contracts late last year. It will build on the successes achieved so far and represents a further step towards establishing Great Yarmouth as a centre of excellence.”

The new site has created around 10 jobs, with hopes of more as further decommissioning projects are won.

Decommissioning unused oil and gas platforms could cost £17bn over the next 10 years, industry body Oil and Gas UK estimates, and has been seen in some quarters as a fillip for an offshore energy industry which has been battling low oil prices since 2014.

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