A group of academics, civil servants and shipyard owners from Thailand recently visited John Lawrie Group’s Aberdeen headquarters as part of a decommissioning fact-finding trip to north-east Scotland.

Organised by the University of Aberdeen, the nine-strong delegation included representatives from the Thai government, Chulalongkorn University and Unithai Shipyard & Engineering. The group were visiting Aberdeen to learn about the university’s expertise in the decommissioning sector and meet with other organisations and businesses actively involved in the growing industry.

Following a series of meetings, which included the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) and the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, the delegation visited John Lawrie Group’s metal recycling facility in East Tullos. Environmental director Ray Grant explained to them the role that the company plays in supporting the dismantling of the North Sea’s oil and gas infrastructure.

Ray also described the ways in which John Lawrie Group seeks to recycle or repurpose as much of the material it handles as possible through innovative reuse. In addition to reprocessing metal, the firm has found new uses for a variety of items such as redundant steel tubulars from the offshore oil and gas industry which are increasingly used as piling and micro-piling pipe in the construction industry.

The delegation from Thailand with Ray Grant (yellow jacket) and University of Aberdeen representatives

The group also toured NORM Solutions, which John Lawrie Group operates on a joint venture basis. NORM Solutions is a technically advanced decontamination facility that handles oil and gas equipment and infrastructure that is contaminated with naturally occurring radioactive material and mercury.

In addition to their meetings in Aberdeen, the group travelled to Shetland to see decommissioning work currently being undertaken, and which John Lawrie Group’s Shetland metal recycling facility has been actively involved with since opening earlier this year by processing the dismantled steel ahead of it being recycled into new steel products.

Professor Richard Neilson, from the University of Aberdeen’s School of Engineering, said: “As the host of the new National Decommissioning Centre, and the first and only university in the world to offer a Masters degree in the subject, Aberdeen is well placed to provide support to partners keen to develop their expertise in the area.”

John Lawrie Group’s Ray Grant added: “We were very pleased to be asked to meet with the Thai delegation during their visit to Aberdeen and showcase our facilities to them. They were interested in learning how our services can help to minimise the environmental impact of decommissioning through reuse and recycling.

“The North Sea has long been a leader in oil and gas exploration and production, and it is encouraging to see it now establish an international reputation for decommissioning.”