Decommissioning facts to be laid bare

TWO events being held by Oil and Gas UK and technology facilitator ITF in Aberdeen this week will sharpen the industry’s focus on the technologies and capabilities required when decommissioning of oil and gas infra-structure gets under way, potentially at a cost of £20billion to 2040.

OGUK operations director Paul Dymond said yesterday: “Uncertainties around the costs of decommissioning affect not only abandonment activities being planned, but also trading of and continuing investment in the oil and gas infrastructure that will remain in place and provide the base for ongoing production.

“It is crucial that oil and gas operators engage with the supply chain to develop a mutual understanding of the goods and services that will be required in the course of decommissioning and the contracting strategies needed to deliver them.”

He said about 40 installations had been decommissioned to date, but bigger, more complex structures were now coming to the decommissioning market.

The OGUK decommissioning seminar – Engaging the Supply Chain – today and ITF’s decommissioning theme day tomorrow, both take place in the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.

The decommissioning theme day will allow ITF to engage with all levels of the supply chain to understand in more detail the key technology challenges within decommissioning.

The ITF process will then establish joint industry projects with up to 100% funding available from oil and gas operators for the best ideas.

ITF technology manager David Liddle said that about 500 installations, 5,000 wells, and 6,200 miles of pipelines would have to be removed from the North Sea.

One large structure alone may cost £100million to decommission, but the tens of thousands of tonnes of steel to be removed will be 95-97% recyclable. There will be strong international competition for decommissioning jobs, but UK interests will be represented by the likes of the Greenhead base at Lerwick, while Peterhead and Ardersier are also understood to be looking at the possibilities.