Oil and gas industry looks to new facility to meet environmental obligations
19 October 2011
North Sea oil and gas operators can now begin to benefit from a waste treatment facility that opened its doors for business at the Stoneyhill Resource Recovery Park near Peterhead earlier this month.
Stoneyhill NORM Treatment Facility opening ceremony
Nuvia SITA NORM’s new, multi-million pound treatment facility will clean and recycle equipment from North Sea oil and gas operations affected by Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM).
NORM is the acronym for Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material and is a term used to describe low levels of radioactivity that exist naturally in the geological environment. It is found in a variety of bulk commodities, process wastes and commercial items, such as sands, china clays and soils, granite, coal and groundwater. It is also a by-product of the oil and gas industry and develops as a mineral scale on the inside of pipes and valves. Equipment affected in this way will be cleaned at the Stoneyhill NORM Treatment Facility inside a custom built containment with ultra high powered water jets to safely remove mineral scale.
The facility is unique in the UK in that it has its own approved, on-site disposal route. More importantly, it provides the region’s oil and gas operators with the means to comply with SEPA’s new guidelines on the disposal of NORM generated during fossil fuel recovery operations which came into effect this month.
The opening event was attended by over 50 representatives of Aberdeen’s Oil and Gas community who were given a brief presentation by Nuvia SITA NORM directors on the processes involved in getting the Stoneyhill NORM Treatment Facility up and running. This was followed by a guided tour of the facility.
Ewan Hill, Business Manager at Nuvia SITA NORM Ltd said: “We received a timely boost when we heard from SEPA that our RSA 93 authorisation had been approved. This means that we are now in a position to make an immediate start on active operations. This new treatment facility is a significant and critical addition to the infrastructure of the region’s oil and gas industry supply chain. It will provide safe and secure, long-term treatment and disposal of NORM in an environmentally responsible manner.”
The new facility was opened at an official launch by Brian Nixon, Chief Executive of Decom North Sea, the offshore oil and gas decommissioning forum. Nixon commented: “Since the establishment of Decom North Sea 18 months ago, I have witnessed a steadily increasing awareness of, and interest in, the forthcoming programme of offshore decommissioning. Our role in the offshore decommissioning sector is to stimulate innovation, facilitate collaboration and promote capacity building within the supply chain. So it’s extremely heartening to have all three of our ambitions demonstrated in the new Stoneyhill NORM Treatment Facility.
Nuvia SITA NORM is an excellent demonstration of companies combining their respective strengths in response to an important market demand. The venture has co-invested in this exemplar facility to increase industry capacity, and has also demonstrated innovation by adapting proven NORM waste treatment processes that have previously been established in the nuclear industry.
I am therefore delighted and honoured to have been invited to open the Stoneyhill facility, and I hope it goes on to earn its rightful place in the emerging decommissioning industry.”
As environmental issues within the industry are pulled into sharper and sharper focus, Nuvia SITA NORM can offer the benefit of its green credentials, not only in its authorised waste disposal route, but also in its ready access to SITA UK’s metals recycling network. It is anticipated that upwards of 95% of all metal items that pass through the plant will be fit for either reuse or for entry into the wider recycling market.
The image shows the Stoneyhill NORM Treatment Facility opening ceremony with, from left to right, Christophe Chapron (NSN Director and Finance Director of SITA UK), Ken Robertson (NSN Director and Director of Projects, Engineering and Consulting for Nuvia Limited), Keith F. Collett (NSN Chairman and CEO of Nuvia Limited), Brian Nixon (CEO of Decom North Sea), Alan Gerrard (NSN Manager and Technical Services Director of Nuvia Limited), Phil Holland (NSN Manager and Decommissioning Development Manager for SITA UK), and Ewan Hill (NSN Business Manager).
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