World’s largest vessel removes Morecambe Bay topsides

10-06-2021 Member news

  • Pioneering Spirit removes two disused gas installations from Irish Sea
  • Single-lift technology is superior in challenging seas
  • Vessel has lifted over 200,000 tonnes of platform weight since launch in 2016

Pioneering Spirit today successfully executed the single-lift removal of the former DP3 gas production topsides from Spirit Energy’s Morecambe Bay development in the East Irish Sea.

This follows the removal of the adjacent DP4 topsides and subsequent transport to the UK in April.

The vessel’s motion-compensated lift technology proved hugely effective in the shallow waters of Morecambe Bay, renowned for strong currents and challenging tidal conditions. For both the DP3 and DP4 operations, it was a matter of hours between arrival in the field and safe execution of the topsides’ lifts.

Pioneering Spirit will deliver the 5450-tonne DP3 installation to a new disposal and recycling facility at the Fife Energy Park, Scotland, where it will be reunited with the 5400-tonne DP4 structure next week.

Allseas’ scope covers engineering, preparation, removal and disposal of two 11,000 tonne normally unmanned installations (NUMIs) and 1000 tonnes of connected subsea infrastructure.

The latter, including wellheads, pipelines and umbilicals, was removed by Allseas’ construction support vessel Oceanic in a complicated sequence of approximately 180 lifts.

Pioneering Spirit will return to Morecambe Bay to remove the DP3 and DP4 supporting jackets in 2023.

Operational since 2016, the DP3 and DP4 topsides removals for Spirit Energy is the vessel’s first heavy lift assignment outside the North Sea.

Still a relative newcomer to the offshore heavy lift market, Pioneering Spirit has already installed and removed over 200,000 tonnes of platform weight, moving the work onshore where it is safer and quicker.

Equipped with motion compensation technology and capable of lifting entire offshore structures up to 48,000 tonnes in just a few hours, Pioneering Spirit spends significantly less time in the field compared to conventional heavy lift barges, which results in drastically reduced emissions footprint.