Giving the industry a break from the norm

“In the year since the Company last featured within European Oil and Gas Magazine, hawse have successfully completed construction and commissioning of our new Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) treatment facility here at Stoneyhill,” explains Ewan Hill, business manager of Nuvia SITA NORM.

“This coincided with the company gaining authorisation from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to operate the plant, which we have been doing successfully now since last October.”

A specialist joint venture company, Nuvia SITA NORM Ltd brings together the nuclear experience of Nuvia Limited, one of the UK’s leading radiation protection and radioactive waste experts, with the recycling and waste management capabilities of SITA UK.

Nuvia has over 20 years of experience in the provision of NORM descaling and management services, which has seen it involved in the design and operation of onshore facilities both in the UK and overseas, predominantly in the Middle East. Nuvia’s current purpose-built facility, based in Dorset, has provided key services to the oil and gas industry in southern England since 2002 and utilises ultra-high pressure water jetting and abrasive scabbling techniques to descale tubulars, completion equipment and a comprehensive range of topside components including Christmas trees, pumps, valves and separator vessels.

The other half of the joint venture, SITA UK, is a recycling and resource management company and subsidiary of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT. Generating environmental, social and economic value from the UK’s waste, the company delivers environmentally responsible and innovative solutions for the public, local governments, industry and commerce. Serving over 12 million people, SITA UK operates in a number of fields, including metals recycling, where it is one of the UK’s leaders, processing approximately 500,000 tonnes of material each year in both ferrous and non-ferrous grades. SITA is also a leading disposer of hazardous waste from a number of industrial areas.

With a great deal of interest generated from the opening of the facility, the Stoneyhill team has since been called upon to decontaminate a wide variety of items both for return and reuse, and for recycling via SITA UK’s nationwide metals recycling network: “The original design of the plant assumed that we would be dealing primarily with standard retrieval equipment and tubulars, however the majority of the work in the facility to date has dealt with more complex components such as settling tanks, pipe spools, flexible risers, PIGs and silencers

Ewan continues “The fact that we have been able to deliver decontamination services on such a range of components demonstrates the value of the flexibility built into the original design and also the skill and training of our workforce. We have already been able to develop some new approaches to provide a more effective service for our clients.”

What Nuvia SITA NORM offers its clients is the total package of decommissioning services: “For a start we can arrange the safe transport of contaminated equipment from the quayside to the facility itself,” Ewan resumes. “Once there we carry out the decontamination process, conditioning the scale with cement prior to disposing of it in landfill and arranging the haulage of the equipment back to the operator or its consignment for onward recycling.”

Keen to continue developing its relationship with key players within the oil industry, the company has made great effort to meet said companies face-to-face at various exhibitions and conferences in order to raise its own profile. Meanwhile it continues to keep a close eye on the changes occurring within the marketplace: “What we have found, and expected to find, is that as production platforms and related equipment get older and need replacing, the pace of growth in the decommissioning sector has increased rapidly.

“Undoubtedly, Nuvia SITA NORM wants to be recognised as the market leader in our field sooner rather than later and just some of the things we need to do in order to achieve this is to always be aware of shifts in the marketplace and changes to legislation and the introduction of new technologies,” Ewan says. “With this forward thinking approach and with all the necessary environmental controls already in place we are confident that the Stoneyhill facility can be a benchmark for the rest of the industry.”

Through the addition of further decontamination areas and new employees at Stoneyhill there is definitely potential for the business to maximise its capacity: “Calling upon the expertise of SITA and the know-how of Nuvia, the joint venture is extremely well positioned to handle what are increasingly challenging situations, ultimately providing our customers with a solution to their decommissioning needs. As more fields start coming to the end of their lives there will be increasing demand for Nuvia SITA NORM’s skills and we are determined to be ready to lead the way in the treatment and disposal of NORM,” Ewan concludes.

Services: Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material – NORM treatment and disposal