Decommissioning

 

Why are we decommissioning?

Gas production from the wells was shut in on the 5th of July 2020 when all the gas reserves in the various fields were depleted. The wells are in the process of being permanently plugged with cement and the associated facilities (platforms, pipelines, cables, subsea structures and onshore terminal) are also being decommissioned


What is the Decommissioning Project?

Kinsale Energy has developed a comprehensive plan to decommission all of the Kinsale Area gas fields. The offshore decommissioning activities are expected to be completed by 2023, having commenced in
July 2020. The onshore works at Inch Terminal works will occur over a much shorter period (less than 6 months) during 2022.

You can read more about our preparations and planning for the Decommissioning project HERE


Decommissioning Consent Application

In June 2018, Kinsale Energy applied to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment for approval of Decommissioning Plans for some of the facilities in the Kinsale Head and Seven Heads gas fields, including:

-  Platform and Subsea Well Abandonments
-  Platform Topside
-  Subsea Infrastructure

The following Consent Application documents are available on the website:

Decommissioning Plan – Kinsale Head

Decommissioning Plan – Seven Heads

Environmental Impact Assessment Report:
    Vol 1    Non-Technical Summary
    Vol 2    Main Report  Sections  1-9
    Vol 3    Main Report  Appendices Parts 1 & 2

Appropriate Assessment Screening Report


A Request for Further Information in relation to the Consent Application was received from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) on 24th Sept. 2018. Kinsale Energy have prepared a comprehensive response to this request and this was submitted to DCCAE on 14th November 2018. The response documents can be viewed below:

Response to Request for Further Information

Draft Environmental Management Plan

Draft Resource and Waste Management Plan

 

The Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment (DCCAE) issued approval of Consent Application No 1 to Kinsale Energy on 26th April 2019 and the approval letters can be viewed below. The approvals for both the Kinsale Head Gas field and the Seven Heads Gas field contain a number of conditions in relation to reporting, environmental management and so on and these conditions will be incorporated in the planning for the decommissioning project.

Kinsale Head Plan of Development

Kinsale Head Screening Determination for Appropriate Assessment

Seven Heads Plan of Development

Seven Heads Screening Determination for Appropriate Assessment

 

In August 2019, KEL submitted a further application to DCCAE in respect of removal of the Kinsale Alpha and Kinsale Bravo platform sub-structures or jackets (Consent Application No 2) - this application covers complete removal of the jackets down to seabed level. The application is accompanied by supplementary documents (addenda) to the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) and Appropriate Assessment Screening Report to highlight any updates to the previously approved documents.
The additional documents can be viewed below:

Decommissioning Plan – Consent Application

EIAR Addendum

AA Screening Report Addendum

The Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment (DCCAE) issued approval of Consent Application No 2 to Kinsale Energy on 26th Feb. 2020. This approval also contains a number of conditions in relation to reporting, environmental management and so on and as for the conditions associated with Consent Application No1 these conditions will be incorporated in the planning for the decommissioning project.

The approval letters from DCCAE can be viewed below:

Determination  on Kinsale Decommissioning Plan

Determination  on Kinsale AA Screening


October 2021 Submissions in relation to Subsea Pipelines & Umbilicals:

In October 2021, further Consent Applications are being submitted to the Department of the Environment, Climate & Communications (DECC) and to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in respect of the subsea pipelines and umbilicals for the Kinsale Head, Ballycotton and Seven Heads gas fields. These applications are for the retention of the existing pipelines and umbilicals in-situ on the seabed and for the installation of protective materials (rock berms) to guard against any snagging hazards which pose a risk to fishing activity.

The applications are accompanied by supplementary documents (addenda) to the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) and Appropriate Assessment Screening Report to highlight any updates to the previously approved documents.

Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act/Continental Shelf Act submissions:

The following Consent Application documents were submitted to DECC on 13th October 2021 and can be viewed at the links below:

Decommissioning Plan – Kinsale Head Petroleum Lease (OPL1) – Consent Application No.3

Decommissioning Plan – Seven Heads Petroleum Lease – Consent Application No 2

Kinsale Area Decommissioning Project - EIAR Addendum No 2

Kinsale Area Decommissioning Project - AA Screening and Article 12 Assessment Screening  Addendum No 2


Dumping at Sea Act submissions:


The documents listed below were submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Oct. 20th - these are for permission under the Dumping at Sea Act 1996 (as amended):

Kinsale Head DAS Application Form and Attachments

Seven Heads DAS Application Form and Attachments

Kinsale Area Decommissioning Project - EIAR Addendum No 2

Kinsale Area Decommissioning Project - AA Screening and Article 12 Assessment Screening  Addendum No 2

These may be read in conjunction with the Project EIAR at the link shown under Decommissioning Consent Applications above.


Decommissioning – 2021 Activities

The final gas production from the fields occurred on 5th July 2020 and since then we have been preparing the facilities for the final stages of decommissioning and removal. This has included the mobilisation of a specialised well intervention unit – a Hydraulic Workover Unit – and the installation of temporary accommodation modules on the Bravo platform, which had been unmanned since 2000. These preparations are now complete and the final decommissioning of the platforms and subsea wells are ongoing and will be completed during 2021 – highlights will include:

Well Plugging – there are 7 wells on each platform which were all drilled in the late 1970’s and have been operating continuously since then –  their production equipment has been removed and the wellbores have been filled with cement to ensure they are sealed for posterity. Once the platforms are removed in 2022, there will be no trace of these wells remaining on the seabed.

Platform “Cold-Stacking” – this work was completed in August 2021. The installations are no longer 'manned'. Solar powered warning lights have been installed and the now unused platforms will be left “cold-stacked” until they are removed by a specialist removal contractor in 2022.

Subsea Well Plugging – in addition to the platforms, there are production facilities installed underwater on the seabed, as all of the smaller satellite fields developed between 1990 and 2003 utilised subsea technology. There are 10 subsea wells, which are in the process of being plugged with cement, like the platform wells – a specialised rig, the “Stena Spey” is being used for this purpose and the work is well advanced. The rig is anchored over each well location and is supported by a number of service vessels for anchor handling, equipment supply etc. It is anticipated that this campaign will run until Nov. 2021.

 

Stena Spey

 

Stena Spey Anchor Handler

 

Subsea Infrastructure Removal - in addition to plugging and sealing the subsea wellbores, a large amount of infrastructure on the seabed has been removed – for example, steel and concrete protection structures, valve assemblies, piping manifolds and the like. A specialised marine contractor – Technip FMC – completed this work in 2 separate campaigns in May and August 2021, utilising a Dive Support Vessel (DSV) and a Construction Support Vessel (CSV). The equipment recovered has been taken to dismantling locations for eventual disassembly and recycling.

Deep Discoverer

North Sea Giant

 

Decommissioning – Future Activities

The main activity remaining for 2022 will be the final removal of the two platforms – Alpha and Bravo. This will be undertaken by a very large crane vessel “Thialf” operated by one the world’s leading heavy-lift contractors – Heerema Marine Construction – of the Netherlands. The platforms will have their upper sections (topsides) removed initially, followed by the lower sections – they will be transported to a dismantling yard in the Netherlands for disassembly.

In 2022 also, we will be removing all equipment from the Inch onshore terminal and restoring the site for agricultural use. There will also be some further work offshore, subject to consent approval, to install protective rock covering over exposed ends of the pipelines and umbilicals which will be left in-situ.

 

 

Thialf



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