Thursday, December 10, 2020

No More Offshore

 I used the same title for a post on my companion blog Tugfax on November 29 to mark the end of Nova Scotia's involvement in offshore oil and gas. With the completion of removal operations for the last offshore installation a number of support vessels that had been involved in exploration, construction, extraction and now demolition, have been idled.

However that is not quite the end of the story. A few "landmarks" around Halifax harbour are also disappearing.

The most prominent, although of rather short duration, has been the Deep Panuke topsides structure. It was removed intact by the giant crane ship Thialf, and landed on the BOA Barge 34, which arrived at the IEL dock in Woodside on July 21. With its flashing light on top of the flare tower, and other illumination, it is a colourful addition to the "harbourscape" day and night.

The structure was brought to Halifax pending its potential sale for re-use or for scrap. Much of the other material from the Sable Offshore went to Europe for scrap, but this structure apparently poses many challenges, not to mention the transatlantic tow. The decision has now been made, and it is rumoured to be scrapping in Sheet Harbour, NS.

We will find out Sunday as the barge is scheduled to sail in tow of the Canadian tug Atlantic Kestrel, which has recently refueled and is talking on stores (of spring water!) at Pier 9C today.

Among the other "landmarks" that is disappearing is the Mobil Dock, which is just south of the Woodside pier (to the right in the top photo, where the yellow crane is parked). It has long been the base for loading offshore supply vessels, has been a very busy place at times since the 1970s. There were a few sheds and other infrastructure there that are now being removed.

Meanwhile at Pier 9C which has been another base for activity related to the dismantling of the offshore, a colourful collection of tanks is also coming down.

Some of the tanks have already been removed, and crews are at work dismantling the piping from the larger tanks. 

The company M-I Swaco established the facility to handle drilling and well fluids for the offshore gas facility, and presumably provided material for sealing and capping wells.  

The materials in the tanks were transferred to tanks in the supply vessels by pipeline. When there was a north wind off the Basin it was a pretty exposed location, and was every bit as cold as it looked.


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