The Cromarty Firth is a large sheltered sea inlet in the North of Scotland with a relatively narrow entrance that immediately expands into a wide channel surrounded by raised land and mountains. The geographical conditions combine to afford the Cromarty fantastic protection from stormy sea conditions and high winds.
The Cromarty is also in a central location to the North Sea with short travel times to and from operational sites making the area an ideal short term storage solution for idle North Sea assets during slow periods or downtime.
It comes as no surprise then that as the oil price crash deepened and oil giants started slashing projects or postponing them until prices recovered, that the Cromarty Firth seen rig after rig stacked in its waters. The Firth with so many rigs sitting idle has been referred to as Scotland’s ‘Rig Graveyard’ by media and its history as a top class service port for the oil industry seemed to be quickly replaced with the gloomy new name.
Oil and Gas People are pleased to report that the trend of the last two years appears to be reversing as rig after rig springs back to life and departs on the short journey back to the north sea
The Noble Lloyd Noble – the world’s largest jack-up rig has been awarded it’s first contract and departed the Cromarty for the North Sea
North Atlantic Drilling Ltd announced the West Phoenix will soon depart the Cromarty for it’s first 90 day contract to the west of Shetland.
The Maersk Highlander has recently departed the Firth for a project at the North Sea Culzean Field and is now on site at its destination.
The Ocean Valiant has departed the Firth to begin a one-year contract for Maersk in the North Sea and is now on location.
The Cromarty Firth has also seen three separate diving support vessels leave the firth to return to work in the past couple of weeks.
The Cromarty Firth Port Authority was happy to assist with our story but raised issues regarding the term ‘rig graveyard’, which we agree is a mislabelled term.
The CFPA gave the following statement: “The Firth is one of the leading locations in Europe where rigs come to be repaired, inspected and maintained. It is a highly skilled profession and the Firth offers a unique combination of an experienced world-class supply chain, sheltered waters, close proximity to North Sea oil fields and ease of access for larger structures.
The historical cyclical nature of the oil and gas industry brings oil rigs to the Cromarty Firth during periods of low oil price, such as that being experienced now.”
There are however several rigs still stacked in the Cromarty and it it is hoped that the recent trend will continue and these rigs will also be put to work.
Image provided courtesy of Fennel Media
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