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Regulator helping CNR, EnQuest, TAQA and TotalEnergies to halve subsea decom costs

© Shutterstock / OpsormanCNR EnQuest TAQA TotalEnergies
Silhouette of worker recovering robotics Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) after entering sea surface during oil and gas pipeline inspection.

Industry regulator the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has released a new dataset to help four North Sea operators to reduce their decommissioning costs by 50%.

CNR International, EnQuest (LON: ENQ), TAQA and TotalEnergies (LON: TTE) currently estimate they will have to spend £1 billion to decommission their UK subsea infrastructure over the next 15 years.

This represents about a quarter of the forecast subsea infrastructure decommissioning bill for the whole basin.

At a webinar hosted by Decom North Sea, the operators signalled their desire to engage with suppliers to aid technical and technological innovation.

They will explore whether combining the work in a single package would open up new ways of working and save money on decommissioning.

In order to support the project the NSTA has created a map and a dataset of the assets that is available on its website.

Designed in response to the supply chain’s call for greater visibility of future workscopes, it’s hoped the resources will drive discussion and help service companies to bring “game-changing ideas” to the table.

CNR, EnQuest, TAQA and TotalEnergies began considering combining their decommissioning projects in one portfolio in 2018

And two years later they narrowed that focus to subsea infrastructure.

The group also named itself the Subsea Decommissioning Collaboration (SDC) and signed a charter to guide their ongoing work.

Iain Lewis, chief financial officer  and decommissioning director at TAQA, said: “TAQA is delighted to co-lead the SDC initiative, which offers a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with other operators on decommissioning delivery. Subsea infrastructure removal on an industrial scale is both a challenge and an opportunity for our industry, so we look forward to working together, and with the supply chain, to find innovative solutions and new ways of working to sustain safe, responsible and cost-efficient decommissioning into the future.”

OGA wells decommissioning © Supplied by Mhairi Edwards/DCT
OGA head of decommissioning, Pauline Innes

The NSTA believes the new dataset represents a “substantial improvement” in the volume and quality of published data.

The SDC is also seeking feedback on how it could be improved further.

Pauline Innes, Head of Decommissioning at the NSTA, said: “The maps and datasets created by the NSTA are a key enabler of this project and we are proud to support these operators, which are working together to drive efficiency through large-scale decommissioning projects, which is exactly what we want to encourage.

“The SDC is a great opportunity to reduce financial burden by developing new technologies and working more efficiently. This, in turn, will stimulate the development of a competitive and sustainable decommissioning market in which the supply chain can thrive long-term.”

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