Monday, 03 December 2018

Reusing and recycling North Sea infrastructure

For over 80 years, John Lawrie Group has been a recognisable name in north and north-east Scotland.

During that time the Aberdeen-headquartered company has grown and diversified, today offering a complementary range of metal processing services.  This includes metal recycling, the provision of decommissioning services to the oil and gas sector, and the supply of new and used steel tubulars from bases in Scotland and the United States.

It is one of the foremost metal recyclers in the United Kingdom and the largest metal recycler and exporter of processed metal in north and north-east Scotland, each year handling around 200,000 tonnes of ferrous and non-ferrous metal.

With four licensed metal recycling facilities across northern Scotland – Montrose, Aberdeen, Evanton near Invergordon, and Lerwick on Shetland – it is well placed to meet the metal processing needs of the region’s businesses.

These sites are also in close proximity to major Scottish ports, which have each developed as strategic hubs for the energy industry and now support decommissioning.

John Lawrie Group loading metal at Aberdeen Harbour

John Lawrie Group loading metal at Aberdeen Harbour

For John Lawrie Group, decommissioning is a sector that is of growing importance.  However, as operations director Dave Weston explains, it is not a new sector for the firm.

“John Lawrie Group has honed its decommissioning expertise over the past 25 years or so,” says Dave.  “Although there has been more discussion about decommissioning in the last decade, redundant oilfield items have been coming back onshore for much longer as part of repair and modification and upgrade projects.

“Many of these have been piece small items or very specific items such as tubulars.  Recent years have seen an increasing number of large piece items being brought ashore as part of decommissioning programmes for entire North Sea platforms or fields.  These are often more complex objects with limited reuse opportunities.”

Sustainability is at the core of John Lawrie Group.  Wherever possible it seeks to find a secondary use for redundant items, and also aims to maximise recycling in order to minimise the amount of waste being sent for disposal.

This concept helps to create a circular economy.  One where materials are kept in use for longer, which delivers environmental benefits for all.  Metal recycled by the company is smelted at European steel mills and then used to create new steel products.

Dave added: “Reusing items is our primary aim.  We’ve successfully achieved that with many redundant materials that have been decommissioned.  Many miles of steel tubular pipe used offshore for drilling operations has been recovered from the seabed, cleaned and reused as steel piling pipe in the construction sector.  While we’ve repurposed anchor chain to create weights, either to hold fish farm nets or pipeline bundles in place.

“Innovative thinking is needed at times, but the sheer scale and construction of some items means that recycling is the only option.  Decommissioning some of these structures wasn’t considered when they were constructed.”

With an experienced mobile project team, a fleet of specialist trucks, licensed recycling facilities, an extensive range of lifting and cutting equipment, and a dedicated in-house HSEQ support team at its disposal, John Lawrie Group is well placed to accomplish all manner of decommissioning projects throughout the country.

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