North Sea Oil Landmark Makes Final Voyage


The giant Hutton tension leg platform, a landmark in the North Sea oil industry, made its final trip this weekend.

Hutton was the world’s first straight-leg platform (TLP) permanently moored to the seabed, a design that provides good vertical stability and better production control.

The 30,000-ton, 48-meter-high platform has been towed five miles across the Cromarty Firth to Queen’s Dock in Invergordon, where it will be recycled over the next 12 months.

The Hutton operated for 20 years in the Hutton oilfield between Shetlands and Norway, before being decommissioned and returning to the Cromarty Firth in 2009.

Offshore oil and gas transport specialist Nerida, along with partner Messiah Decommissioning, acquired the Hutton from its former owners in 2021. The purchase was negotiated by Simon Worden at Offshore Shipbrokers.

Jon Townley, Managing Director of Nerida, said: “Queen’s Dock was the natural choice because of its exceptional facilities and experience in this field – one of our top priorities was to ensure that the jobs created through this process would remain in the UK.

“This is a good example of the circular economy because the hull was built at Highland Fabricators in Nigg and the bridge section was built at McDermott shipyard in Ardersier,” he explained.

“The two sections were assembled in the Moray Estuary off Findhorn, so it is fitting that the platform ends its life in Invergordon.”

The process of lifting the 500 tons of chains and anchors and towing the platform five miles to Invergordon took 36 hours and involved six tugs accompanied by a rescue boat.

Nerida organized the towing to the dock and now has left the platform to Messiah whose directors Tony O’sullivan and Steven Regan have mobilized a range of specialized equipment and an experienced team to handle the decommissioning and recycling. .

Maersk anchor manipulator starts working on the Hutton platform

Bob Buskie, General Manager of Cromarty Firth Harbor, said: “This is a momentous moment for everyone at the harbor as the Hutton TLP – known as the Pillars of Cromarty Firth – prepares for the final leg of his journey after having been a staple of our landscape for 12 years. ”

“Since 2009, the feet have been anchored here securely, becoming a hallmark of the Cromarty Firth.

“Now his life has come full circle as he will be transferred to Queens Dock in the port where the dismantling of Messiah can begin on-site dismantling operations.”

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