Close
Keeping offshore wind developments afloat

August 2017

Keeping offshore wind developments afloat

Liz Foubister

Hywind, the world’s first full-scale floating wind farm, has now reached a key milestone with the installation of its five colossal turbines off the north-east coast of Scotland.  

We are a long-term supporter of offshore wind and had our first involvement in offshore wind projects about a decade ago. Back then it felt like floating wind was still far off the horizon. However, in October 2015, we were involved in securing consent for the world’s largest floating offshore wind development which is currently being installed off the coast of Peterhead.  

Developments are now gathering pace. Statoil has recently installed all five floating 6MW turbines at Buchan Deep, approximately 25km off the coast of Peterhead, with a generating capacity of 135GWh of electricity each year. The pilot park will cover around four square kilometres at a water depth of 95-120m and will harness wind resources to provide renewable energy to the mainland. The Hywind development could power around 20,000 houses.  

Unlike conventional turbines, the Hywind turbines will be attached to the seabed by a three-point mooring spread and anchoring system. The turbines will be connected by an inter-array of cables and an export cable will transport electricity from the pilot park to shore at Peterhead.   

The application for a marine licence for the Hywind development off Scotland’s north east coast was approved by the Scottish Government and we were responsible for the production of the Environmental Statement (ES) that accompanied the application. This considered the possible positive or negative impacts of the project on the local environment as well as potential social and economic aspects. The ES represented the culmination of four years of consultation, surveys and assessment.

Various disciplines from the company provided specialist input to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), including experts from the underwater acoustics team, and benthic and terrestrial ecologists. The EIA provided an overview of the potential impacts, those of greatest concern and highlighted the mitigation required to ensure impacts will not be significant.  

One particular area of concern was the impact on birds. It was therefore necessary to work closely with the regulators and their advisors in the development of the impact assessment methodology to ensure sufficient data was provided. The impact assessment also had to address additional impacts to those associated with previously consented fixed bottom wind turbines e.g. navigational and fisheries risks from the turbine moorings.

Although Hywind is a relatively small scale offshore windfarm, the EIA provided valuable insight into the issues that will need to be addressed for future larger scale floating wind farms. This included the potential for the sustainable co-existence of marine activities and use of alternative fishing methods in floating wind farm areas.

This project has added invaluable experience to our strengthening track record in permit applications and environmental impact assessments. We have an impressive track record in offshore EIA in Scotland and have strong relationships with Scottish regulators, statutory advisors and the wider stakeholder community. Through our fully integrated offering, we deliver complete commercial solutions for renewable projects through its extensive suite of capabilities from engineering and project management to technical safety and risk management services.   

As Scotland’s first minister highlighted, the Hywind project is an example of oil and gas companies now working in the offshore renewables sector and an area “where we (Scotland) have a competitive advantage which we must take advantage of if we can”.

She could well have been talking about Xodus.

More ›

Tackling acoustically induced vibration

July 2017

Tackling acoustically induced vibration

Paul Emmerson

Multiple excitation sources exist within modern process plants that can cause damage due to vibration related degradation mechanisms. Without identification and control, these can lead to component failure and the associated safety, environmental, business and reputational losses.

More ›

Going with the flow on subsea jumpers

June 2017

Going with the flow on subsea jumpers

Sandy Hutchison

We regularly perform flow induced vibration (FIV) assessments of piping systems to understand whether any vibration induced by internal flow is within acceptable levels. 

More ›

Time to XAMIN a new area

May 2017

Time to XAMIN a new area

Rebecca Hewlett

Through our fully integrated offering, Xodus has vast experience in delivering complete commercial solutions for renewable projects through an extensive suite of capabilities from engineering and project management to technical safety and risk management services. Now, we are taking these capabilities to the next level.

More ›

Decommissioning subsea infrastructure – geotechnical considerations

April 2016

Decommissioning subsea infrastructure – geotechnical considerations

Andy Small

Between now and 2040, around one-sixth of approximately 470 North Sea installations will require decommissioning. Cost estimates for undertaking this mammoth scale of work is rising exponentially - the total UK offshore decommissioning expenditure is now predicted to hit £50 billion by 2055, according to Oil & Gas UK’s Activity Survey 2016. As all subsea infrastructures interact with the seabed in some manner, understanding the geotechnical aspects and managing geotechnical risk will be of significant benefit to executing decommissioning projects successfully and cost-efficiently.

More ›

Good vibrations

February 2016

Good vibrations

Sandy Hutchison

No-one wants to pick-up bad vibes whether it’s the inference in something said, that gut feeling something isn’t quite right or experience of a similar previous situation which turned unpleasant. As well as the metaphorical ‘bad vibes’ that can affect our daily lives, the oil and gas industry has had to contend with literal bad vibes causing significant problems to the integrity of offshore platforms, pipework and associated subsea equipment.

More ›

XMET – Four seasons in one day

January 2016

XMET – Four seasons in one day

Chris Lovell

The problem
The weather is infamously the UK’s favourite subject of conversation, and nowhere more so than in the offshore industries. Metocean conditions on the UKCS can be extreme as well as being ever-variable. Of these two characteristics, it is the impact of variability that is the hardest to accurately quantify on offshore intervention campaigns, whether greenfield development, brownfield modification or decommissioning projects.

More ›

Come on feel the noise!

December 2015

Come on feel the noise!

Reuben Ditchburn

Noise in the workplace is often seen as the Justin Bieber of safety concerns; whilst most people are now aware of it, the temptation can be to simply stick your fingers in your ears and pretend it doesn’t exist.

More ›

De-risking offshore installation

November 2015

De-risking offshore installation

Chris Jones

Our recent experience has shown that deck handling may actually prove to be a period of particularly high risk to a subsea product during installation. These complex operations are often engineered through the use of standardised calculations or through simplistic modelling. With ongoing advances in Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software, these operations can now be modelled in significantly more detail. This can mitigate risks prior to mobilisation and optimise operability during handling and installation. Such detailed modelling can remove unnecessary conservatism and potentially allow installation in increased weather windows.

More ›

Let’s take you for a spin

November 2015

Let’s take you for a spin

Amedeo Marcotulli

Imagine that you are a caterpillar munching on a succulent leaf at the tip of a lush tree in the woods. Life is simple. You look back and remember a purposeful climb to reach that perfect leaf, not realising the millions of possible options you left behind at every branch you picked. In hindsight, your climb was a linear journey from the root to the ultimate lunch. However, the hovering crow that is about to eat you knows that your leaf is not so unique.

More ›

Process Safety Analysis versus HAZOP

November 2015

Process Safety Analysis versus HAZOP

Colin McWhirr

Operators are facing costly and time consuming production and regulatory challenges that require a clever approach to managing technical safety and risk.

More ›

Asset management – what does it mean?

October 2015

Asset management – what does it mean?

John Taylor

This blog is the first in a series on Asset Management and Technical Integrity Assurance. It aims to generate discussion on what exactly the term means, how it’s perceived, its impact and effectiveness in today’s ever-changing energy sector. It will also explore the aspects that collectively integrate to provide a robust asset management structure in order to provide stable operations and a cost-effective business model.

More ›

You can’t have your cake and eat it!

September 2015

You can’t have your cake and eat it!

Amedeo Marcotulli

Cost reduction in the oil and gas industry is now top of the agenda as we face the consequences of the market downturn and a volatile oil price. That’s not surprising or unusual, but where can cuts be made and what affect will it have? Very rarely can we achieve a cost reduction that does not affect the functional requirements of the system. Generally, every cut generates a trade-off on performance or other aspects of the life of field economics.

More ›

Demystifying decommissioning

August 2015

Demystifying decommissioning

Caroline Laurenson

Decommissioning North Sea facilities is projected to cost £35 billion over the next two decades with £1 billion spent by UK producers last year, according to Oil & Gas UK. The rate of decommissioning activity is accelerating and rising costs against the backdrop of a low oil price is impacting further. Next year will see the culmination of a decade of planning as Shell’s Brent Delta platform topsides is removed. The industry is discussing the best way to further collaborate to drive efficiencies.

More ›

Subsea processing – the drive to standardise

August 2015

Subsea processing – the drive to standardise

Luca Sintini

It is clear that despite the current difficulties facing the subsea sector due to low oil prices and rising costs, interest in subsea processing, such as boosting and compression, subsea separation and raw seawater treatment and injection, will continue to gain momentum to deliver cost-efficiencies and optimisation of systems.

More ›

Assessing corrosion and erosion in pipelines

July 2015

Assessing corrosion and erosion in pipelines

Dr. Mark Hutchinson

Mark has devised an innovative technique for assessing corrosion and erosion in pipelines that can provide clients with a much greater degree of accuracy.

More ›