Onshore Shetland: BP's Sullom Voe Recruitment Drive

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Rigzone talks to BP about its recruitment drive to find additional workers as it expands its Sullom Voe oil terminal, including an offshore solution to an onshore staffing problem.

One of the largest oil terminals in Europe, the BP plc-operated Sullom Voe site is located at the edge of Britain at the northern end of the largest of the Shetland Islands.

Built almost four decades ago, the Sullom Voe terminal covers approximately 1,000 acres. Its main purpose, according to BP, is to act as a buffer between the producing fields offshore and tankers waiting to ship oil to refineries worldwide. Currently, oil is imported to the terminal from more than two dozen oilfields in the east Shetland Basin, between Shetland and Norway, as well as from BP's west of Shetland Schiehallion field and the Clair oilfield (which came on stream in 2005). Gas is also imported from west of Shetland fields via a 20-inch pipeline.

Already established as a key component in BP's North Sea operations, Sullom Voe has a long future ahead according to the company. More than $25 billion will be invested in new developments west of Shetland by 2020, while the industry is looking at technical and commercial solutions to increasing recovery of resources east of Shetland.

In light of this, BP is investing up to $1.7 billion with its partners into the Sullom Voe terminal in order to enable the terminal to support the development of new fields and ensure the continuance of operations for existing fields. Part of this investment is the recruitment of an additional 100 personnel to work at the terminal.

BP's sales pitch to workers who might potentially move to Shetland in order to work at Sullom Voe includes Shetland's fantastic scenery and a welcoming local community in the islands, along with the fact that it takes just 50 minutes by plane to get there from Aberdeen. But the fact is that Shetland is one of the more remote places in the British Isles, lying some 110 miles north of mainland Scotland, so tempting workers there has had its difficulties according to Steve Cowie, BP Area Operations Manager at Sullom Voe.

"We started recruiting additional staff last year in the conventional manner – from the Shetland workforce – and we were finding it more and more difficult to get all the people we needed," Cowie told Rigzone.


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