Oil and gas company EnQuest has taken a major step in decommissioning the Heather asset in the UK North Sea following the award of a surface removal contract.

EnQuest revealed on Friday that the Heather asset topsides removal contract had been awarded to all the seasowner and operator of what is said to be the largest and most sophisticated heavy lift construction vessel in the world, Pioneering spirit. The award follows an intensive period of evaluation, negotiation and clarification.

This contract will cover all engineering, preparation, removal and disposal of the topsides of the asset, while the removal of the Heather jacket is a separate scope, to be awarded in due course.

EnQuest will utilize the capabilities of the Pioneering Spirit’s 48,000t topside lifting system to remove the Heather topsides in a single lifting operation. Preparations will begin next year with the lift itself slated for 2025.

EnQuest filed its program to dismantle the topsides of the Heather Alpha platform with the UK authorities in April 2021. The plan was approved in July of the same year.

The Heather facility is located in block 2/5 of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). It is a fixed facility providing production, drilling and utility facilities. The platform was installed in 1977/78 and the first oil was produced on October 6, 1978.

The Heather field has not been in operation since the end of 2019 following a fire on the platform in which two workers were injured. The platform was to resume production in the first half of 2020.

However, EnQuest in early 2020 decided not to resume production on the platform due to a low oil price environment, which rocked the market in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Allseas also recently won a contract, which represents the UK’s largest offshore continental shelf dismantling contract to date.

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