When the Ninian Central oil production platform was towed out of Loch Kishorn in May 1978, at just over 600,000 tonnes it was the largest concrete structure that had ever moved across the face of the earth. Over 40 years later, another giant of the oil and gas industry will be coming to Kishorn.
Kishorn Port Ltd (KPL) has landed its first major contract, and the Yard that produced the super-sized Ninian platform will now host a visit by the largest semi-submersible offshore drilling rig in the world, the Ocean GreatWhite. Owned by Diamond Offshore, a global offshore drilling contractor, the Ocean GreatWhite weighs in at 60,800 tonnes and is a 6th Generation Harsh Environment drilling rig capable of drilling down to 10,000m in 3,000m of water. With a draft of over 23 metres, the rig needs deep water for anchoring and Loch Kishorn provides the ideal sheltered conditions.
The Ocean GreatWhite has made her way from Singapore, via Las Palmas in the Canaries over the last 5 months assisted by the Alp Defender, a large ocean-going offshore supply vessel weighing in at 5600t. The rig is destined to start a drilling contract in the North Sea early in 2019. The Ocean GreatWhite will not be drilling whilst at Kishorn. During its station, it will be made ready for its drilling program with Ferguson Transport and Shipping providing marine agency and stevedoring support. This activity will provide a welcome lift to the local economy.
Alasdair Ferguson, a Director of KPL, recently visited the rig in Las Palmas and commented “I couldn’t fail to be impressed by the sheer scale of the Ocean GreatWhite. We hope that the berthing and support to the rig at Kishorn will herald a new era of engagement in the oil and gas industry at Kishorn”
Kishorn Port Ltd (KPL), a joint venture between and Leiths (Scotland) Ltd and Ferguson Transport and Shipping was created in 2008 to promote the regeneration of the Kishorn Yard and dry dock as a major facility for the manufacturing of renewable energy components, decommissioning and support to the North Sea oil and gas sector.
The Yard and the dry dock were very busy in the early years of the North Sea oil and gas boom, employing over 3,000 people and generating a huge contribution to the local Highlands economy. Howard Doris, the Yard operators finally succumbed to insolvency in 1988 and the Yard lay largely dormant until 1992, when the dry dock was resurrected to enable the casting of the two 2,500 tonne concrete caissons that support the Skye Bridge.
KPL secured comprehensive Masterplan permission in 2013 and have been promoting the Yard and its unique dry dock for use by the renewables and oil and gas sectors for the last 5 years following significant investments in site infrastructure. Simon Russell, Director added “After many years of working on the Kishorn project, this is a great step towards its future regeneration and the creation of local jobs and opportunities”