Publication - Independent report

Ultra-deep water port: feasibility study

Published: 27 Nov 2018

Report compiled by Ernst & Young following their feasibility study looking at the most cost effective locations for an ultra-deep water port in the UK.

122 page PDF

2.0 MB

122 page PDF

2.0 MB

Contents
Ultra-deep water port: feasibility study
2. Location assessment

122 page PDF

2.0 MB

2. Location assessment

Key Messages

  • Working with the SG and key stakeholders a long list of 40 quays were identified from across the UK as potential locations for an UDW port. The quays were assessed in three stages:
    • Stage 1: assessment of minimum approach depths and current quayside depths. 22 quays were deemed to not meet the minimum criteria and removed from consideration.
    • Stage 2: practicality assessment on a port being able to reach the required approach depths and quayside depth requirements. A further 10 quays were removed following this assessment.
    • Stage 3: review of the 8 remaining quays against a range of soft criteria to determine the locations which are optimal for developing an UDW port.
  • Two locations: Dales Voe, Shetland and Quay 3 at Nigg Energy Park on the Cromarty Firth, were identified as the preferred locations. This is primarily driven by both locations' proximity to naturally deep water (meaning lower development and maintenance costs for an UDW port) and key North Sea basins.

2.1 Introduction

The location assessment was performed jointly with our sub-contractors, Arch Henderson (AH) who specialise in port development and master planning.

To identify potential locations for a UK UDW port EY discussed, refined and updated a long list of current ports with SG, Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE), Scottish Enterprise (SE) and AH.

These discussions identified 25 potential UK port locations. However, as most of the ports selected have multiple quay sides, this list included 40 quays for consideration.

These were reviewed against criteria jointly developed by EY and AH in order to assess their suitability for use as an UDW facility.

This section summarises the work performed and the outcomes of the review. AH's detailed findings are included within Appendix C of this report.

2.2 Assessment process

To determine the most appropriate locations for an UDW port we performed the following down selection process:

1. The long list of quays was first assessed against a set of hard criteria based on the current infrastructure in place and whether it could reasonably be developed into an UDW port. Quays which do not meet the minimum requirements set by the hard criteria were removed from consideration.

2. Remaining quays underwent a practicality assessment to ascertain the feasibility of increasing the dredge depth to -24m chart datum (CD) at the quayside and increasing the approach channel depth to -14m. This assessment was performed using admiralty charts and local knowledge of the marine conditions. Quays which it did not appear reasonably feasible to achieve these requirements were removed from consideration.

3. Quays remaining after stage one and stage two assessments were assessed across a range of soft criteria, with the two best options taken forward for the CBA.

2.2.1 Hard criteria

The key physical criteria to determine whether an existing quay could be developed into an UDW port were:

  • Current depth at the quay of at least -9m CD. If a quay does not currently have these depths considerable works would be required to increase the depth by 15m (to the desired dredge depth of -24m CD).
  • Current approach depth of at least -9m CD. Significant increases to the channel depths would require extensive capital and maintenance dredging.

The quay length required to accommodate ultra-heavy lift vessels (UHLV) was also considered. However, this did not prove to be a limiting factor for any locations considered.

The results of the hard criteria assessment are outlined in the table below.

Table 1: Locational Assessment: Hard Criteria

Port Quay Depth below CD at quay (m) Limiting Approach Channel Depth below CD (m) Taken forward to Practicality Assessment
Dales Voe - Shetland Dales Voe 12.5 25 Yes
Dales Voe - Shetland Dales Voe (extension) 24 25 Yes
Greenhead Base - Shetland Greenhead Base 9.1 9 Yes
Peterhead Smith Quay 10 12.5 Yes
Peterhead ASCO South Base 5.9 12.5 No - due to quay depth
Invergordon SB5 (pre-development) 13.5 14 Yes
Invergordon Queens Dock 12 14 Yes
Invergordon SB5 (post-development) 13.5 14 Yes
Aberdeen Harbour Clipper Quay 9 6.6 No - due to approach depth
Aberdeen Harbour Torry Quay (3-6) 7.5 6.6 No - due to quay depth
Aberdeen Harbour Albert Quay 7.5 6.6 No - due to quay depth
Aberdeen Harbour South East Quay 10.5 10.5 Yes
Aberdeen Harbour South North Quay 9 10.5 Yes
Montrose - Norsea Support Base Berths 1 & 2 8.2 5.5 No - due to quay depth
Dundee New Quayside 9 6 No - due to approach depth
Nigg Quay 3 12 14 Yes
Nigg Dry Dock 9.1 14 Yes
Energy Park Fife EPF One 6.5 6 No - due to quay depth
Energy Park Fife EPF Two 6.5 6 No - due to quay depth
Inverkeithing 3 1 No - due to quay depth
Ardersier 2. 8 14 No - due to quay depth
Kishorn Dry Dock 8 30 No - due to quay depth
Leith Imperial Dock 6.7 6.7 No - due to quay depth
Wick Commercial Quay 1 4.5 4 No - due to quay depth
Hunterston - Platform Construction Jetty 3.8 7 No - due to quay depth
Hunterston - Platform Construction Jetty 10.5 10 Yes
Hunterston Dry Dock Dry Dock 9.5 10 Yes
Hunterston - Ore jetty Outer Berth 20 30 Yes
Lyness Lyness Wharf 8 14 No - due to quay depth
Arnish Materials Quay 6. 5 8 No - due to quay depth
Greater Yarmouth Outer Harbour 10 11 Yes
Hartlepool (Able Seaton) Dry Dock 6.6 6 (design of 9.5) No - due to quay depth
Hartlepool (Able Seaton) Quays 10 & 11 15 6 (design of 9.5) Yes
Harland & Wolff Belfast Quay 6.6 9.3 No - due to quay depth
Harland & Wolff Steel Wharf (DRY) 8. 5 9.3 No - due to quay depth
Harland & Wolff Belfast Dock (DRY) 6 9.3 No - due to quay depth
Hull Greenport Main River Quay 11.5 11 Yes
Swan Hunter Yard 9.1 6 No - due to approach depth
Redcar bulk terminal (Teeside) Bulk Terminal 17.3 14.1 Yes
Port of Blyth South Harbour - West Quay 8. 5 6 No - due to quay depth

Source: Arch Henderson Analysis

After the hard criteria were considered, 22 quays were removed from consideration. The remaining 18 quays were taken forward for the practicality assessment.

2.2.2 Practicality Assessment

A high level practically assessment was undertaken to ascertain the feasibility of increasing the dredge depth to -24m CD at the quayside and increasing the approach channel depth to -14 CD. This was performed using admiralty charts and where applicable, local knowledge of the marine conditions.

Port

Quay

Taken forward to Soft Criteria Assessment

Dales Voe - Shetland

Dales Voe

Yes

Dales Voe - Shetland

Dales Voe (extension)

Yes

Greenhead Base - Shetland

Greenhead Base

No - significantly increasing the approach depth or quay depth is restricted by the width of the channel

Peterhead - Smith Quay (Norsea)

Smith Quay

No - increasing the quay depth to 24m would require a significant extension to the quay and considerable additional dredging, which would impact much of the existing quayside.

Invergordon

SB5

Yes

Invergordon

Queens Dock

Yes

Invergordon

SB5

Yes

Aberdeen - (Aberdeen Harbour South)

East Quay

No - deepening the entrance channel would require significant wave modelling work and potentially lead to swell conditions in the harbour. This may need a new breakwater or increasing the size of rock armour. Also issues around closing the harbour to deliver the required works.

Aberdeen - (Aberdeen Harbour South)

North Quay

No - deepening the entrance channel would require significant wave modelling work and potentially lead to swell conditions in the harbour. This may need a new breakwater or increasing the size of rock armour. Also issues around closing the harbour to deliver the required works.

Nigg

Quay 3

Yes

Nigg

Dry Dock

No - works to dredge the dry dock are too significant to be considered feasible.

Hunterston - Platform

Construction Jetty

No - making the quay deeper would require significant dredging in a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Hunterston Dry Dock

Dry Dock

No - works to dredge the dry dock are too significant to be considered feasible, also requirement to dredge in a SSSI.

Hunterston - Ore jetty

Outer Berth

Yes

Greater Yarmouth

Outer Harbour

No - lengths of quay structures would need extending and significant dredging required which would likely undermine the existing infrastructure and break waters.

Hartlepool (Able Seaton)

Quays 10 & 11

No - Greater water depth could be achieved with construction of a new quay however this would have considerable impact on adjacent infrastructure. No naturally deep water present adjacent to the quay so considerable capital and maintenance dredging would be required.

Hull Greenport

Main River Quay

No - No naturally deep water present adjacent to the quay so considerable capital and maintenance dredging would be required.

Redcar bulk terminal (Teeside)

Bulk Terminal

Yes

Source: Arch Henderson Analysis

As a result of the practicality assessment, 10 quays were removed from consideration. The remaining 8 quays were taken forward for assessment across a range of soft criteria.

2.2.3 Soft Criteria

The following six key measures were considered:

  • Distance to Northern North Sea (NNS) basin (km)
  • Distance to Central North Sea (CNS) basin (km)
  • Max Load Out Area (m)
  • Area of External Laydown (m2)
  • General Quay Capacity (kN/m2)
  • Heavy Load Out Length (m)
  • Heavy Load Out Capacity (kN/m2)

The remaining quaysides were assessed against the above criteria and further practicality considerations to determine the most appropriate locations to develop an UDW port. The results are outlined in the table below.

Table 2: Quays excluded post soft criteria assessment

Port

Quay

Taken forward to Cost Benefit Analysis

Dales Voe - Shetland

Dales Voe

Yes

Dales Voe - Shetland

Dales Voe (extension)

Nigg

Quay 3

Yes

Invergordon

SB5 (pre-development)

No - quays at Invergordon could be upgraded to accommodate an UDW port. However, water depths at these locations are c14m. By comparison, Nigg which is located close to Invergordon quays, is adjacent to naturally deep water. As such, Nigg is considered to be a more optimal option due to lower expected costs for development and maintenance.

Invergordon

SB5 (post-development)

Invergordon

Queens Dock

Hunterston - Ore jetty

Outer Berth

No - being located on the west coast of Scotland and c1,000km from Northern North Sea and Central North Sea basins, transit times from platform to port are expected to be over 2 days*. Given most east coast UK and Norwegian locations will be within 1-2 transit day, an UDW port at Hunterston would struggle to compete commercially.

Redcar bulk terminal (Teeside)

Bulk Terminal

No - the facility is equipped for bulk handling with a processing plant and infrastructure and on site required for a bulk facility. It is not clear what the quay load capacity is for this site. The existing dredge pocket of -17m is very local to the quayside and a -24m dredge to accommodate an UHLV could impact infrastructure on the opposite bank. Offloading operations could also potentially obstruct movement up the river and navigation of oil tankers being serviced at the oil jetties opposite.

Source: Arch Henderson analysis, *assuming vessel transit speed of 10 knots per hour.

Dales Voe and Nigg were identified as the quays most suitable for development to an UDW port. Considering each location in turn:

  • Dales Voe channel provides water depths of -32m CD reducing to -20m CD at the centre of the channel adjacent to the quay. The proposed development of an extended quay and dredging would deliver the -24m water depths required. The quay has high load capacities suitable for self-propelled modular transporters (SMPT) and accommodation of heavy components lifted from UHLVs. In addition, it is in close proximity to NNS and CNS platforms.
  • Nigg has a dredge depth of -12m CD adjacent to the quay. However, it could be extended further into the Cromarty Firth in order to deliver the required water depths. Existing quay loadings are sufficient to accommodate SPMTs. In addition, it is in close proximity to NNS and CNS platforms. On approach, there is a sand bar at the entrance of the Cromarty Firth. The depth of this is -15m CD at the lowest astronomical tide, with depths generally greater than this. This is there not considered a limiting factor for this location. As highlighted in the table above, this location is selected over those at Invergordon due to the required capital and maintenance dredging being lower at Nigg.

2.3 Conclusion

The assessment identified two quays as the most suitable locations for developing an UDW port:

  • Dales Voe
  • Nigg

The governing factors largely relate to the depth of water adjacent to the existing quay. In the case of both of these locations, deep water is naturally present in the approach channels and near to the existing quay. By extending the quay, this deep water could be reached to allow for a vertical quay face with a berthing pocket of -24m CD extending into a channel of the same depth or deeper.

The analysis is based on desktop research, supported by the industry knowledge of AH. A comprehensive location assessment would require detailed consideration of the specific development required at each location, including discussions with the respective Port Authorities on their appetite to provide an UDW capability.

These two ports were taken forward to the CBA. The detailed AH report is included within Appendix C.


Contact

Email: Claire Stanley