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Seaways Nessie (see image above) provides a method of removal to dock based on well-established floating dock technology, proven in the docking of ships in the 80,000 tonne range – four times the weight of a large platform including the topsides. It is also based on the simple, profitable method used by the renowned Mr Cox, who salvaged the German High Seas Fleet scuttled in 1918 in Scapa Flow.
Nessie’s deep draft provides simple zero heave lifts that guarantee there will be no heave collisions and eliminate the need for complex, expensive, unreliable, motion compensating, dynamic hydraulic systems.
There are more than 400 North Sea oil platforms ready to be decommissioned, a job that involves taking the platform back to shore and returning the seabed back to its original state. Estimates for the cost of decommissioning and restoration varies between 30 and 100 billion dollars over the next two decades with at least 75% of the cost coming from the UK taxpayer.
At present, removal of oil and gas platforms is a costly process with specialist ships such as the new Swiss owned “Pioneering Spirit”, rumoured to have cost in excess of 3 billion US Dollars. This vessel, now long overdue, will command huge hire charges by their owners.
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“I’m very concerned that as things stand, because we don’t have an alternative operational at the moment, the tax money to decommission the platforms will be paid to foreign companies and will create jobs for thousands of foreign workers, rather than supporting UK based shipyards and steel mills that are closing down with the loss of jobs for thousands of UK workers.” said Mr Glass.
“The solution is quite simple in operation, we’ve created our own submersible which we have called NESSIE. (Novel Extended Semi-Submersible).”
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Mr Glass has estimated that NESSIE can be built at less than 10% of the cost of the Pioneering Spirit and operated at a correspondingly lower day rate. However, the cost of further development is prohibitive and he has been actively canvassing politicians and industry leaders for support and looking to the oil and gas sector for financial funding.
UK Government tax breaks mean that the UK pays 75% of the cost of decommissioning. This will consume 100% of the income from North Sea oil production between 2020 and 2040. This will have a drastic impact on social programmes that are already critically underfunded.