COPE Ltd helps re-use and recycle the Buchan Alpha rig

Earlier this year COPE Ltd was approached by Veolia to find out if they were interested in re-using and recycling the large amount of items left behind on the rig.

The charity jumped at the chance – and in the ensuing weeks their sister enterprise the Shetland Home Co. worked closely with the decommissioning team to secure as many items as possible.

“It is hard to describe the sheer quantity and quality of furniture, equipment and other items that were made available. We were given everything from Sky boxes and DVD players to cutlery, plates, kitchenware and catering equipment. There was also a large quantity of office furniture, which we sold within three days, and an entire library of books, which went within a week.” explains charity Chief Executive Ingrid Webb

“We think that as a charity it is important not just to recycle things – but to re-use them. Often things can end up in the recycling when they can have many years of good use ahead of them,” Webb says.

And true to their word, one of the COPE enterprises – the Shetland Kitchen Company – took on a lot of the catering equipment to build up their own capacity to grow.

The partnership has also given new opportunities for the COPE staff team, many of whom have learning disabilities.

“This project has been just terrific in so many respects.” says Ingrid. “The team from Veolia and Peterson could not have been more helpful and they gave us the chance to go quayside and see first-hand the scale of the operation – it was a super learning opportunity for us all.”

COPE now hopes it can continue this positive partnership when future decommissioning projects come to Dales Voe – so they can help maximise the social, economic and environmental benefits the former rigs can bring.

Just think: the next time you are served soup by the Shetland Kitchen Company, it might well be poured by the same ladle that dished up a plate of mince and tatties to a rig worker who had just come off shift far out in the wild North Sea, many years ago.

Late last year Dales Voe in Shetland became the final destination for the mammoth Buchan Alpha rig – a floating production platform which produced almost 150 million barrels of oil over 36 years in the harsh waters of the Buchan Field.

Scotland’s Oil and Gas Decommissioning Action plan, developed by HIE and Scottish Enterprise, highlights the importance of recycling as much of our disused infrastructure as possible, and so far we have got off to a flying start.

To date well over 95 percent of the Buchan Alpha rig has been recycled, and we should congratulate Petersen and Veolia for their success. In total, around 12,000 tonnes of materials will be recovered through the project which is expected to complete later this year.