Latest Deep-Water Berth Nears Completion at Lerwick Harbour
by Tom Morton -
High activity and positive outlook reinforces ongoing investment
The expansion of Lerwick Harbour’s deep-water infrastructure continues, with another new berth becoming operational during November at the established Greenhead Base in a period of high activity by the oil and gas industry at the Shetland port.
Dredged to nine metres water depth, Greenhead Berth 7 will provide an additional 100 metres of quay, extending the 100 metres-plus Berth 6 which was brought into operation early to support a subsea installation contract in February 2012 and has been in constant use by various offshore contractors since.
The two quays, dredged to nine metres, cost £7.6 million. The Port Authority has invested more than £74 million since the 1960s, much of it recently aimed at developing deep-water capabilities. The port has almost 4,000 metres of quay, including over 1,300 metres of deep-water berthing following developments to accommodate larger vessels now operating.
The tonnage of oil-related shipping at Lerwick was up 26% in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2012, with cargo shipments up 42.5%.
Current activity east and west of Shetland includes support for offshore development and decommissioning projects. The port is also taking delivery of equipment for onward transport by sea and road to the Shetland Gas Plant, under construction near Sullom Voe, as well as accommodating workers on two floatels, with a third expected this month.
Lerwick Port Authority Chief Executive, Sandra Laurenson, said: “The high activity in support of the sector’s operations offshore and onshore means Berth 7 will come into use immediately it is available.
“The positive outlook for the foreseeable future underlines our proactive strategy for the continuing development of the port, with an anticipated capital spend of more than £20 million within the next two years.”
Schemes in the pipeline include additional sites for industry, more lay-down areas and further deep-water berths.
Ms Laurenson added: “Further ahead, the infrastructure for oil and gas closely matches likely requirements by the offshore renewables sector in any future northern North Sea developments and the Authority is providing assistance to enquiries on potential projects and possible test sites.”