Rig sets sail for Shetland

Load out from BiFab July 2014 Methil Fife Energy Park Barge
Load out from BiFab July 2014 Methil Fife Energy Park Barge

For the last year or so two large bright yellow structures have emerged from the ground up to dominate the Methil landscape.

Reminiscent of the days when the yard built enormous offshore projects for the North Sea, BiFab’s work for Premier Oil - a jacket and topside for the Solan field west of the Shetland Islands - has seen once-familiar skeletal frames tower above local houses.

However, this month the landscape will be changing again as the two structures are loaded on to barges to make the journey north.

The first signs of movement were seen on Monday when positioning work began to ready the jacket to start transferring it to a barge on Tuesday, with sail away expected by the end of next week.

The barge itself has been a topic of conversation over the last few weeks as it waited in the Forth.

With a fabricated weight of 8200 tonnes and measuring 165m in length, the jacket is scheduled to take up to three days to reach the Solan field, which is around 130km west of Sumburgh at the southernmost tip of Shetland. There it will be installed in waters 135m deep and, once piled to the seabed, it will support the topside, which is expected to leave mid-August.