Brent decommissioning team set up new business

Part of the team behind the giant heavy lift operations to remove Shell’s iconic Brent platforms are setting up their own decommissioning business.

Ross Wright, an offshore construction manager with Shell, has been involved in planning and engineering the removal of the topsides of the Brent Delta in 2017 and Brent Bravo earlier this year.

He and a “small-knit team” of other managers on the Brents have set up Decommissioning Efficiency Solutions (DES), a new firm aiming to leverage their experience on the major North Sea projects.

The business will be based in Aberdeen, offering “cradle to grave” services from planning and design through to managing labour for project execution.

Mr Wright said DES will initially aim to offer consultancy services to the UK and Norwegian decommissioning markets, as well as potentially Asia.

2017’s Brent Delta platform removal was a giant 24,000-tonne lift by Allseas’ Pioneering Spirit vessel and “massive learnings” from that operation meant the Bravo was “swifter” and cheaper.

Mr Wright is hoping that experience will be valuable to other firms looking to decommission their platforms.

He said: “We pride ourselves on the success of the Brent Delta and the Brent Bravo and that’s what we’re building on.

“Our knowledge and experience means we can be a small but critical cog in a big wheel.

“We’ve decided forge together with our own firm that wants to challenge the bigger companies which have extra overheads.”

The team will be comprised of Mr Wright, fellow offshore construction manager Peter Storey, along with an onshore liaison manager and a construction planner, all of whom have worked for Shell.

DES will be self-funded by the quartet with the aim to base the business near the city centre although a premises is yet to be “locked down”.

Mr Wright said there is potential to save operators “millions” and they would look to have their first deal for the planning phase by Christmas.

He added: “We call it cradle to grave so I want to be sitting come Xmas time in the cradle stage, discussing the design concepts and how we would recommend executing it, etc.

“That stage, ready for in 12 months’ time when it comes to execution.

“We’re going to share our experience and our learnings and make it easier for companies so they are not just starting up fresh out of the box when it comes to single lift decommissioning.”

Peter Storey (left) and Ross Wright

In June the Brent Bravo was removed from its legs in a four hour operation, with the fast lift itself only taking nine seconds according to operator of the Pioneering Spirit, Allseas.

The Brent field lies around 115 miles northeast of Shetland and started production in 1976.

It is the home of the benchmark standard for crude oil still used today.

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