Construction begins on new £3M de-scaling facility

New development to help the oil and gas industry to clean naturally occurring radioactive mineral scale waste

Construction has started on a new treatment plant at Stoneyhill, near Peterhead in Aberdeenshire to clean and recycle equipment from North Sea oil and gas operations affected by Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM).

NORM is a by-product of the oil and gas industry and develops over time as a mineral scale on the inside of pipes and valves.

This waste has traditionally been disposed to sea, but development of the new processing plant at Stoneyhill will present the North Sea Oil & Gas industry with the means to comply with new environmental guidelines regarding the off-shore discharge of this material.

Initial construction works include the refurbishment of a building that will house the treatment process along with the installation of a containment system and ultra high pressure water jetting (UHPWJ) pumps and systems.

The de-scaling facility will operate under a Radioactive Substances Act (93) Authorisation which is expected to be issued by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) following consultation under the Euratom Treaty, Article 37 requirements.

NORM affected equipment delivered to site will be treated in a fully contained area with UHPWJ to safely remove mineral scale. Once de-scaled, metals and pipework may be reused or recycled and any scale removed will be treated and encapsulated in cement. This waste will then be consigned to landfill under authorisation at SITA UK’s adjoining Stoneyhill site.

NSN Director, Alan Gerrard said, “This new treatment facility will provide the Oil & Gas industry with a simple and safe solution to NORM disposal. The plant at Stoneyhill will be first new plant in the Aberdeen area providing North Sea operators with a service compliant with the guidelines governing the treatment and disposal of NORM waste, allowing cleaned metals to be re-used or recycled and waste mineral scales to be disposed of safely and securely.”

Major works are scheduled for completion by the end of August with commissioning of the plant following soon after. The recycling facility will bring extra employment to the region, with around 30 jobs during the construction and installation phase and an anticipated 13 positions when the facility becomes operational in the autumn.

*NORM is the term that is used to describe radioactive materials that exist naturally in the geological environment. NORM is found in a variety of bulk commodities, process wastes and commercial items, such as sands, china clays and soils, granite, coal, groundwater, oil and gas.

Posted on: 4 May 2011
Nuvia’s Construction Project Manager, Tony Robertson (left) and M,E&I Manager, Ronnie Mackay oversee the initial site groundworks.

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