Oil and gas companies have announced plans to explore the possibility of using an existing North Sea gas platform as a nesting site for seabirds.
Alpha Petroleum Resources and Energean UK have signed a memorandum of understanding with Ørsted Hornsea Project Four to repurpose the Wenlock gas platform as an artificial nesting structure in support of the ongoing development of the Hornsea Four offshore wind farm.
The agreement will allow the companies to collaborate in exploring how to repurpose the platform as a dedicate kittiwake nesting site.
The Wenlock platform, which is nearing the end of its economic producing life and is scheduled to the plugging and abandonment of wells from 2023, has an established kittiwake colony with around 69 apparently occupied nests counted in the June 2022 survey.
Graham Walters, Alpha’s Chief Operating Officer said: “Alpha is very pleased to be working with Ørsted to repurpose our Wenlock platform to support the renewable industry in a first for a UK gas platform and to be playing our part in the UK energy transition.”
The companies believe the platform, which is close to where Ørsted plans to build the Hornsea Four offshore wind farm, could reduce the impact development the wind farm is expected to have on seabirds, particularly the kittiwake.
Jamie Baldwin, Hornsea Four Project Director at Ørsted added: “As a responsible offshore wind developer, we are always keen to explore innovative opportunities to ensure that our projects are developed, constructed and maintained as sensitively and sustainably as possible.
“We look forward to continuing our work with Alpha and Energean to investigate the potential for repurposing existing offshore structures as part of a tool-box of ecological compensation measures.”