Safe, effective and efficient late-life management and decommissioning of assets within the oil, gas and offshore renewable sectors is a societal and economic necessity.
To help deliver these objectives, the opportunity exists for significant technology and commercial innovation, regulatory review and for knowledge and skills development.
Launched in January 2019 as a partnership between Aberdeen University, the Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) and industry, the National Decommissioning Centre’s (NDC) role is to support the sector in achieving these goals.
At the heart of the NDC’s activities is the drive to do what is best for decommissioning, supporting industry with research delivering safe, cost-effective and environmentally sound outputs.
An example of this approach is the NDC’s partnership with Chevron.
This multi-year collaboration supports research aimed at better quantifying the environmental impacts of decommissioning and providing guidance on the most appropriate options and solutions.
The related projects focus on techniques for monitoring fish stocks around offshore installations and pipelines, the bioavailability of potential decommissioning-related substances, and the longevity and eventual fate of offshore infrastructure left in situation.
The work will have widely applicable outcomes.
Concurrent with this work, we have PhD students working on other environmental aspects of decommissioning.
We aim to understand the consequences of decommissioning on marine organisms.
Next-generation molecular approaches (DNA analysis) will be used to identify organisms that are linked to oil and gas infrastructure and to make predictions about what the future holds for them and their ecosystem. The goal is to find evidence of the most suitable option for decommissioning.
A further project intends to quantify better the volume of greenhouse gas emissions produced during decommissioning activities.
This will draw on data from completed projects to provide better methods to predict estimates for future projects and enable us to find the best solutions on the pathway to net zero.
These projects are complemented by international collaborations with groups in Thailand and Australia which will look at onshore aspects of decommissioning and safe handling, including removal and disposal of contaminants.
Research facilities and equipment at the NDC are world-class. With support from the Scottish Government’s Decommissioning Challenge Fund, we have invested in a high-power computing cluster and, recognising the need to accelerate and exploit digitisation, a state-of-the-art marine simulator is being installed.
This investment will support industry-wide projects as well as asset-specific scenario planning.
This will include the possibility of the integration of renewables with oil and gas in decommissioning and as we transition to net zero.
Building on its success, the NDC will engage further with operators, national oil and supply chain companies, universities and research and development institutes to find solutions to some of the challenges associated with reuse opportunities and decommissioning and the link to the energy transition.
Professor Richard Neilson, director of NDC, and Malcolm Stone, business development analyst at NDC.
Get in touch today to find out more about partnering with the NDC.
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