How we Bunker the North Sea's FPSO units in Scapa Flow

20th July 2018

Our vessel the Thun Grace is busy all the time, voyaging between our main operational hubs of Blyth and Aberdeen and the oil refinery on the Humber, with frequent stops at Great Yarmouth, Peterhead, Montrose and Lerwick as required. Recently however, we have added another destination: Scapa Flow, a body of water in the Orkney Islands, just north of the Scottish mainland.

The Thun Grace’s voyages to Scapa Flow – which we slot into her programme before or after a voyage to Aberdeen – enable us to deliver fuel to some of the vessels that transport oil from (and supplies to) the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) units operating in the North Sea.

An FPSO is a large vessel that serves as a mobile oil platform – it extracts and stores oil but, as it is not connected to any fixed oil pipeline, is flexible and moveable and can be anchored anywhere at sea. It is very convenient for the vessels that support FPSOs to be fuelled with a ship-to-ship transfer, to avoid the need to divert into a port with an ex-pipe fuel supply.

Many of the FPSO support vessels pass through Scapa Flow, so this is where the Thun Grace pulls up alongside and delivers their bunkers, saving them time and avoiding disruption to their programmes. The Thun Grace is equipped with the appropriate equipment and approvals to carry out the ship-to-ship transfers – the crew are fully trained in all aspects of the delivery, including safety procedures and spill response.