Sullom Voe Terminal to be connected to the grid by the end of next year

POWER supply to the Sullom Voe Terminal is set to be provided by two 43-kilometre underground power lines from the Gremista substation by the end of next year.

The on-site gas-fired power station, operated by Equans, is due to be switched off in the fourth quarter of 2025 as it no longer meets stringent carbon emission standards.

EnQuest, the operator of the terminal, gave an update on its plans for the 1,000-acre site during a Shetland suppliers forum held at Mareel on Wednesday morning.

The company was keen to present itself as one that is seeking collaborative working with the local businesses and the community as Sullom Voe transitions from an oil terminal to a green energy hub.

The company is in the middle of a “right-sizing” project that involves some significant decommissioning of equipment no longer needed to make space for long-term aspiration such as carbon capture and storage, green hydrogen production and offshore electrification.

The first projects part of that net zero journey are the new stabilisation plant, a new oil processing module, the ESP pipeline that will connect West of Shetland gas to the terminal, as well as connecting the terminal to the grid power.

Donna Sutherland, a director of newly formed Veri Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of EnQuest, said her team is “looking hard” what could be done with the redundant power station as it remains a “phenomenal asset”.

Donna Sutherland, a director of newly formed Veri Energy which is overseeing the transition at Sullom Voe Terminal. Photo: Shetland News

Closing down the power station will reduce the terminal’s carbon footprint by 90 per cent, she said.

“Two underground cables will be coming from Gremista to Sullom Voe, and that will be providing 16MW to the site,” she said.

“SSE Distribution is engaging with landowners, I would imagine, for purposes of securing way leaves to allow that cable to be laid.

“It will be underground as we need to ensure there are no bird strikes or impact from any implications on the network. We witnessed last year when a lot of the lines came down, so we would like them buried to mitigate against that risk.”

Shetland is set to be connected to the UK national grid later this year thanks to a new 600MW HVDC subsea transmission link which will run to Caithness. This will allow renewable energy such as from the Viking Energy wind farm to be exported.

Sutherland added that the Sullom Voe power station, once switched off, could be “repurposed” to continue producing energy using clean fuels.

Sullom Voe Terminal. Photo: Shetland News

“What sits at the heart of what we are doing is about how can we capitalise on the engineering excellence of the past to repurpose it for the future so that it can deliver projects at a lower cost, reduce emissions and quicker than on a green field site,” the Veri director said.

Sutherland also revealed that up to seven wind turbines could fit on the site to produce power needed for green hydrogen production.

Opening the day-long session with representatives from local businesses and the public sector, EnQuest’s midstream director Dave Marshall said the company was in the process of clearing part of the site to create space for its clean energy aspirations.

“[Sullom Voe Terminal] is a fantastic 1,000 acre brown field site,” he said. “Why not use that? Why create green field sites for new energy when we have the skills, the experience and the industrial footprint there at Sullom Voe?

“We are looking at the potential of bringing in carbon capture and storage, using our existing infrastructure with the jetties and the pipelines, progressing the full licences that we have been awarded.

“There is green hydrogen as a potential (…) and the third aspect is offshore electrification, particularly with the new West of Shetland fields being developed.”

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