More than 40 North Sea fields represent a “lost opportunity” for the industry to learn shared decommissioning lessons, according to OPRED.
The UK environmental regulator has listed off 44 fields, including the likes of BP Miller, North West Hutton and the Argyll field, “most” of which the industry has failed to gather collective learnings.
Decommissioning director of OPRED (Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning), Richard Brooks, shared the list at the Decom Offshore conference last week.
He said: “Now looking at the projects that are listed, you might not actually recognise some of them because I’ve deliberately listed installations that were decommissioned some time in the past.
“I think we’d have to admit that we’ve lost the opportunity to gather the lessons learned from most of these projects and we’ve got to get better at sharing the lessons learned from our current and future projects.
“At the very least we need to share what worked well and, just as importantly, what didn’t go well.”
A cost estimate report from the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) earlier this month showed a “slowdown” in the reduction of the UK’s decommissioning bill compared to previous years.
As part of this, the OGA said that, while performance improved “when learning and good practice are shared”, progress was “compromised” by a handful of high-cost operators.
Mr Brooks said there is still a “competitive, collaborative conundrum” to decommissioning.
He added: “Prior to lockdown, I engaged with a number of operators who were keen to tell me what they learned from a certain project, and how they take the lessons learned from that and improve their next project.
“But when I asked the question about sharing this more widely, the answer was no.
“I really wonder why we find it so difficult to share lessons learned.
“It’s really about what goes around comes around. If we share this knowledge then somebody is going to benefit now, but you’re going to benefit when it comes to your next project as well.”