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As part of its decommissioning offering, Aker Solutions can now hand the offshore operator a Second Life Report on the raw materials a platform contributes to the circular economy. A drilling platform, it turns out, can be 99 percent recycled.
The report spotlights the quantity of all materials yielded in decom work. For topsides that broke heavy lift records when they were installed, that’s a lot of valuable raw materials recovered.
More sustainable economic activity means reusing as much steel and other materials as possible, as far less energy is used recovering recycled materials than in the production of, say, ingots of steel. Steel recovered offshore has unique qualities and uses.
But the work reducing towering oil platforms into, say, additives for 3D printing can be “brutal”. The Valhall drilling platform’s final journey — carried on the “back” of the Pioneering Spirit heavy lift vessel — ended in May 2022 at Aker Solutions’ Stord yard, where large machines waited to chop it to pieces. The 6,700-ton platform was first stripped of hazardous materials and electrical waste before being levelled by explosives.
Explosives sped the demo along and made it safer by bringing heavy steel structures to ground level, making for less work at heights. Hydropower drove the stationary-scissor and water-grit cutting machines, ensuring lower emissions and noise pollution.
Decommissioning the original Valhall installations concludes a fascinating chapter in the Norwegian oil and gas story. A giant on the Norwegian continental shelf, Valhall has produced over a billion barrels of oil equivalent since the original field came entered production in 1982. Two of its platforms were recycled at Stord. A third will be decommissioned by year-end 2023.
While the Valhall originals will live on as raw materials, Aker Solutions is helping Aker BP extend the life of the remaining Valhall center an extra 40 years. Across the bay from sprawling decommissioning facility is the newbuild assembly area, where the topside of a new Valhall production and wellhead platform will be assembled.
Recycled material and equipment from the old Valhall platforms could yet find its way onto the newbuild topside.
About 10,000 platforms now in operation worldwide will one day have to be decommissioned — a giant salvage market. That means a corresponding trove of recovered raw materials are now also within the reach of Aker Solutions’ offshore operator customers.
Much of that decommissioning stems from both the North Sea, from where Aker Solutions has secured a pipeline of orders for structural teardowns. Already, some 40,000 tons of recovered hulks await dismantling and recycling at Stord’s decom yard.