It’s not long before we host our first ever digital decommissioning conference on November 24-25 and with the aim of creating a dynamic, international and interactive online experience, it’ll be like no other event we’ve ever hosted before.
In the face of adversity brought about by the coronavirus and continuing volatility in commodity markets, OGUK’s decommissioning conference committee has embraced change. The exciting online platform means anyone in the world can tune into the decommissioning conversation and we’re looking forward to input from operators, suppliers and academics from near and far.
In the UK, we have seen significant disruption across the industry’s exploration and production activities and decommissioning has been similarly affected. OGUK’s insight report, which we’ll release at the conference will explore this impact in more detail. Our work activities this year have focussed on key efforts to stimulate the decommissioning activity we need to provide continuity of work for the supply chain, maintain and develop skills and build on all the good work over the past few years to enable cost-effective decommissioning.
While the disruption is something we anticipated, during 2020 we have passed some major milestones on several of the largest removal projects ever seen on the UK Continental Shelf. In August, I returned home to Shetland to see CNR International’s Ninian Northern platform arrive at Lerwick for the final stage of its decommissioning journey where it will be dismantled. The project will provide local employment and the focus will be on re-using and recycling as much of the material as possible. My fellow Shetlanders turned up in droves to see this impressive feat of engineering be transferred from ship to quayside
Another highlight was Shell UK’s successful single-lift removal of the 16,000 tonne Brent Alpha topsides before transferring it to ABLE UK’S dismantling yard in Hartlepool. This was achieved using Allsea’s record-breaking massive Pioneering Spirit vessel which also took on four other platform removals, including Ninian Northern, this summer. In the southern North Sea, Chrysaor has been working on an extensive decommissioning and removals campaign spread across 38 platforms, 145 wells and over 2,000 km of pipeline, all tied back to an onshore gas terminal at Theddlethorpe, which will also be dismantled.
One factor unites these significant projects. In each case, operators, offshore contractors and onshore disposal yards have demonstrated a commitment to working together to maintain progress despite the challenges of COVID-19 and cost constraints imposed by economic uncertainty and market conditions. Striking the balance in how we work collectively to shape the future of UKCS decommissioning is one of the 11 themes in our decommissioning conference, and we’ll also take a global outlook to see where our growing expertise can be exported to other markets.
The emergence of an increasingly co-operative and inclusive mindset is a key factor in helping us seize the opportunities ahead and our conference features representatives from different organisations who will champion each topical theme in our diverse programme.
With an agenda which will consider decommissioning in a low carbon world, explore some recent research into the influence of man-made structures in the marine environment, and innovative technology, our digital conference has the potential to attract participants from beyond the UK. This will help ensure we drive new conversations about decommissioning in the broader energy world in a time of unprecedented change.
Link to conference https://offshoredecommissioningconference.co.uk/