Hornsea Project Three Offshore Wind Farm

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Hornsea Project Three Offshore Wind Farm

Received 19 July 2018
From Neptune E&P UK Ltd

Representation

Neptune E&P UK Ltd (Neptune) wishes to be registered as an Interested Party in the examination of the Hornsea Project Three Offshore Wind Farm.

Neptune is the Operator of the Cygnus gas field which is located in blocks 44/11a and 44/12a of the UK sector of the Southern North Sea (SNS) approximately 150km northeast of Easington. There are two installations on the field; Cygnus Alpha and Cygnus Bravo. Cygnus Alpha, located in block 44/12a, is a processing and gas compression hub comprising:
• Utilities-Quarters platform (UQ);
• Production Utilities platform (PU);
• Wellhead Platform (WHP).

Cygnus Bravo, located in Block 44/11a, is a satellite wellhead platform and drilling
centre.

The co-ordinates of the platforms are:

Cygnus Alpha Platform:
? 54° 34’ 9.75” North;
? 02° 17’ 28.29” East;

Cygnus Bravo platform:
• 54° 35’ 59.77” North;
• 02° 11’ 41.42” East;

The manning of these installations is serviced by helicopters from Norwich International Airport. The flight path from Norwich to Cygnus is directly over the Hornsea Offshore Windfarm. Neptune has been advised by its helicopter operator, CHC, that the construction of Hornsea Project Three, in combination with the already sanctioned Hornsea Project One and Two, effectively places a navigational barrier across a wide stretch of the Southern North Sea with the potential to significantly disrupt normal flying operations.

The Hornsea Three development has the potential to impact communication and radar navigation systems. However, the biggest risk to Neptune’s operations is that it will raise the Minimum Safe Altitude (MSA) in the area to as much as 2500ft. At this altitude, freezing conditions, with the risk of the helicopter rotor blades icing up, would occur when the air temperature at sea level was 4 to 5 degrees. There is the potential for these conditions to occur, which would preclude helicopters flying over the turbines, for up to five months of the year.

The only alternative would be for helicopters to deviate from their normal flight path and fly around the windfarm. As the development is so large, the alternative route would be significantly longer. This would mean longer flying hours, increased fuel consumption, and reduced payloads which would add significant logistical costs to our operation.

This would also be a problem for the safe operation of the Cygnus Platforms in terms of dealing with medical emergencies, emergency response and personnel evacuation as the response time would be significantly longer.

As an existing operator already established close to the area where the Hornsea 3 project is proposed, our understanding is that the DCO is required to take account of Neptune’s operations and secure adequate mitigation measures. Neptune would therefore like to make a representation on the potential impact to its operation in the SNS and ensure that suitable mitigation (such as a safe corridor for helicopters to use between the Hornsea Two and Three projects) is assessed during the examination process.