Pioneering Spirit removes 14,200-t Ninian offshore platform in single lift

Allseas’ heavy lift vessel Pioneering Spirit has completed its third and final decommissioning job of 2020. The single-lift removal of the North Sea’s 14,200-tonne Ninian Northern topsides for CNR International (CNRI) took two hours to complete.

Completed Friday morning, 28 August, the operation took approximately 2 hours, from connecting the vessel’s lifting beams to the platform to the lift. Environmental emissions from the removal activities were kept to a minimum using the efficient vessel systems. The actual “fast lift” of the topsides took only 7 seconds. The lift successfully concludes several months of offshore works to prepare the platform for single-lift removal.

Pioneering Spirit will now deliver the topsides to the Peterson-Veolia yard in Dales Voe, Shetland, for disposal. The facility will target over a 97 per cent reuse/recycle ratio and create a number of jobs over the period the topsides is dismantled.

Ninian Northern

Located in the North Sea, 160 km northeast of the Shetland Islands, the Ninian Northern platform comprised topsides modules for drilling, production and accommodation, supported by an eight-legged jacket standing in 140 metres water depth. The eight steel legs were cut during a second phase of preparations in 2019. Pioneering Spirit will return to the Ninian field in summer 2022 to remove the supporting jacket structure.

After transfer and load-in of the Ninian Northern topsides at Dales Voe, the vessel will sail to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, for installation works of its new Jacket Lift System and to prepare for upcoming projects. The Jacket Lift System will allow the ship to remove and install jackets weighing up to 20,000 tonnes in a single lift. Originally, it was to be operational in the first half of 2021, but the corona crisis has pushed this back by some 9 months.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.