Located approximately 125km north-west of the Shetland Islands, the Laggan and Tormore fields represent the future of the UK oil and gas industry.
The new Shetland Gas Plant (SGP) represents the very hub of Laggan-Tormore.
The site of the development, lying just to the east of the existing Sullom Voe Terminal, has since 2010 been the focus of a complex and large-scale construction project – the biggest individual building programme in the UK since the London Olympics.
The challenges involved in establishing the facility have called for creative and forward-thinking solutions that are sympathetic to the environment and the wishes of the local community.
They've also required detailed logistical planning as materials and equipment have been delivered from around the world, and a large-scale workforce assembled to turn the plans into reality.
Once operational, the SGP will process and export produced gas and condensate carried ashore from the fields via two 18" pipelines.
It will be capable of processing up to 500 million standard cubic feet of gas per day and employ around 80 people.
A ceremonial peat-cutting ceremony was staged at the site in May 2010 before a new 2.4km access road was established to support construction operations.
All preparatory earthworks, including large-scale terracing work on the steeply-sloped site, were completed by the summer of 2011.
Two large peat stores, used to accommodate 650,000m³ of material excavated during the pre-construction phases, were then erected.
The main EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor, Petrofac, took over the site in October 2011 to begin construction work.
A huge accommodation facility, established near the site and capable of housing up to 848 construction personnel, became fully operational in 2012.
The plant has steadily taken shape since then, underpinned by highly developed planning and scheduling systems. Many thousands of tonnes of equipment have been delivered to the site from around the world. Around 2,500 individual suppliers have produced parts for the plant.
The very largest pieces of equipment were delivered to an adjacent construction jetty and transported to SGP by huge transporters. Detailed local traffic management measures were put in place to mitigate the impact of these activities.
A fleet of floating accommodation facilities, ultimately featuring six vessels in total, was moored at Lerwick Harbour in Shetland to host hundreds more construction personnel – at times of peak activity, there were more than 2,000 people at work on the plant site.
Now edging ever closer to completion, the complex encompasses a sophisticated and technologically advanced network of flow management systems, gas separators, treatment areas and compressor units, as well as a host of ancillary facilities.
Treated gas will enter the 234km pipeline that links the plant to the Frigg UK A system in the North Sea.
The SGP development took a significant step forward in August 2014 when operations personnel – the team set up to run the facility – started taking up occupancy of the Administration and Workshop Area (AWA) buildings.
The buildings represent the 'nerve centre' of SGP. They house the plant's control room, from where all subsea operations will be monitored and managed, as well as offices, workshops and warehouse facilities.
SGP Aerial image courtesy of Alan Lindsay
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