Between January and April 2016, drilling took place from the land between Noss Head and Staxigoe village near Wick. Four drills were undertaken and ‘popped out’ on the seabed approximately 800m from the coastline on the seabed using a technique known as Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD). Each drill was then lined with steel ducting and capped off awaiting the arrival of the subsea cable in 2017.
This drilling exercise came with significant technical and environmental challenges. The headland at Noss contains a significant and complex array of geological faults that could have compromised the success of the drilling operation. Careful design and planning were needed to ensure the greatest probability of success without additional drilling.
Between October 2016 and April 2017, drilling will be underway from land to the west of Portgordon out to sea. These HDDs will also be lined with steel ducts and await arrival of the subsea cable in 2017.
This drilling exercise also comes with significant challenges. The total length of each drill is 1600m, and when they emerges from the bedrock under the sea bed, there will be a significant amount of overlying soft material such as sand, gravel, and cobbles which may jeopardise the integrity of the drill however, at this time, three out of the four ducts have been successfully installed again with no adverse environmental impact.