In July, the Oil and Gas Authority launched its Decommissioning Strategy as a way of driving new ways of working across the oil and gas lifecycle. This week, the follow-up Delivery Programme was announced to explain how the Strategy’s objectives will be met moving forward.
As the pace of abandonment and decommissioning operations accelerates, I’m extremely pleased to see late life planning and processes under the spotlight, and that the OGA’s Delivery Programme is fully aligned with our own approach. We’re now bringing expertise from onshore decommissioning to the offshore decom market and are supporting operators in identifying leaner ways of working. Companies are beginning to focus on the challenges ahead and must still ensure operations are completed efficiently and cost effectively.
A key part of the Strategy is to improve understanding of, and guidance related to, regulations as a way of achieving more robust, accurate estimates whilst standardising how these are prepared. To do this, operators must be fully aware of the processes surrounding decommissioning and how they differ from current production.
In the instance of decommissioning, the industry will gradually transform from producing oil and gas to producing significant wastes and materials. It’s crucial that we implement similar management procedures and systems and put these in place to ensure regulatory compliance, safe operations and accurate cost estimations.
We developed an information management system as a cost effective way for operators to manage the wastes and materials that arise from decommissioning, from initial DECC Decommissioning Programmes through to final recycling or disposal of wastes. The OGA believes that industry collaboration is necessary for efficient and standardised decommissioning and so our waste management protocols have been developed for utilisation throughout the entire supply chain, as each contractor passes on the asset to its next handler.
Earlier this week, Jim Christie discussed how a new approach to contracting is required, which involves looking at risk management and how this can be managed across the supply chain. Clarity on waste management will play a key role here and so as an SME, this kind of strategy and engagement with the OGA allows us get involved at the right stage of the process. It’s important that we assist operators by communicating clarity around regulations within the waste compliance arena, especially as operators’ contracting and delivery strategies must be confirmed at least three years before Cessation of Production, and must include materials inventories and waste management procedures.
At D3, we’ve already prepared materials inventories for more than 40 platforms scheduled for decommissioning. This totalled more than 500,000t of waste and materials which is almost equivalent to the total tonnage expected to be removed in the next 10 years – so we know what’s out there!
If the industry fully engages with the task at hand and focuses on the right priorities, we can work together to manage the process and ensure we achieve effective and cost efficient outcomes.
I’m personally looking forward to being a part of the industry’s consultation moving forward and supporting the OGA and wider industry in realising the OGA’s defined deliverables.
Martin Bjerregaard is a director for D3 consulting.
He has more than 25 years’ experience in the planning, designing and implementation of industrial and offshore decommissioning and demolition works. Martin has supported operators with waste assurance works for onshore disposal of platforms, development of materials inventories for offshore platforms and budget development for offshore decommissioning of assets.