Equinor Taps Heerema for Decommissioning of Venerable North Sea Platforms

Phased work to remove Heimdal and Veslefrikk A from the Norwegian North Sea shelf should be completed sometime in 2025.

The Heimdal platform in the North Sea.
Øyvind Hagen/Statoil

Equinor has chosen Heerema Marine Contractors for removal, dismantling, and recycling of the topsides and jackets of the Heimdal riser platform, Heimdal main platform, and Veslefrikk A platform in the North Sea.

Heimdal was discovered in 1972 and started production in 1986. As of January 2019, the field had produced 46 billion standard cubic meters of gas and 7 million standard cubic meters of oil. Veslefrikk came on stream in 1989 and produced over 400 million BOE.

The three contracts have been awarded on behalf of Gassco as operator of the Heimdal riser platform and on behalf of the partners of the Heimdal and Veslefrikk licenses.

The Veslefrikk partners plan to shut down the field permanently in the spring of 2022. Well plugging at the field started earlier this year. A decommissioning plan has been submitted to the authorities. The exact time for shutdown and start of removal will be decided by the Heimdal partners this summer.

In addition to the platforms, the contracts will also include removal, dismantling, and recycling of the gangway connecting the two Heimdal platforms, as well as a subsea pre-drill template connected to Veslefrikk A.

Heerema has sent a letter of intent to Aker Solutions AS for dismantling and recycling of the platforms at its decommissioning facilities in Stord, Norway, after they have been brought to shore. All onshore activities will be performed at the Stord yard over a period of 2 to 3 years.

The topsides and jackets of the three platforms have a combined weight of about 68,000 tonnes. The removal method has been adapted to each individual platform and Heerema’s heavy-lift vessels Sleipnir and Thialf. Each topside will be lifted on board the heavy-lift vessel in one or several parts, according to Equinor.

The operator added that up to 98% of the Veslefrikk and Heimdal field installations can be recycled.

Plans call for final production shutdown on the Veslefrikk field during spring 2022, while gas and condensate processing on the Heimdal field will be discontinued in 2022 or 2023.

The Heimdal riser platform will be removed in 2024, at the earliest, while the Heimdal main platform and the Veslefrikk A platform will be removed no earlier than in 2025.