The number of offshore assets reaching the end of their life, globally, is rising, meaning decommissioning projects are a real eventuality for many operators.
Decommissioning is an inherently hazardous exercise, one that requires meticulous planning, experienced people and an extremely defined skill-set, if it is to be executed safely.
While decommissioning is an expensive business, costs have been declining in recent years due to increased innovation, better co-operation throughout the supply chain and the development of first-class skills and capabilities.
In this article, Richard Lind, general manager for Ashtead Technology’s mechanical solutions facility in Thainstone, Aberdeenshire, discusses the many challenges facing the sector and how Ashtead Technology can help operators make decommissioning safer and more cost effective, while reducing environmental impact.
Best-in-class technologies and services
Ashtead Technology is an international expert in the provision of offshore decommissioning services for the energy sector.
With one of the largest fleets of decommissioning tools and systems in the market, we specialise in ROV tooling, control and monitoring solutions, cutting and recovery systems and seabed air-lift and dredging solutions.
We offer a comprehensive service capability for the cutting and removal of oil and gas and renewable energy infrastructure, with a proven track record in field clearance and structure, and pipeline cutting and recovery. Specifically for the renewables market, we provide a suite of services for the decommissioning of met masts, monopiles, tri-pile foundation structures and export cables.
Ashtead Technology serves as a fully integrated ‘one-stop shop’ solution provider to support our customers’ projects from the initial engineering phase through to final delivery. Having one contractor to supply all the equipment, people and project management expertise provides multiple efficiencies and minimises risk on board the vessel.
The continued ambition to reduce decommissioning expenditure is a challenge for the whole supply chain and our aim is to provide customers with the most reliable, efficient and predictable end-of-life solution, delivered at the lowest cost with no compromise on best-in-class HSE performance.
Innovation, continuous improvement and investment
Innovation in decommissioning through continued investment in research, development and deployment of technology will maintain and enhance supply chain capability.
In our relentless pursuit of excellence, we continue to invest in our equipment portfolio to ensure we remain at the forefront of what we do. This commitment to innovation and continuous improvement has led to recent enhancements to our subsea cutting and recovery solutions portfolio in order to solve our customers’ operational challenges.
In development, and due for launch in 2024, is our new mattress recovery tool, a fully diver-less solution for the recovery of subsea mattresses.
Leveraging our in-house developed control technology, the system uses real-time monitoring and remote positioning in order to ensure accurate placement and control during recovery operations.
Our recent acquisitions of WeSubsea and Hiretech have bolstered our decommissioning capability, complementing our extensive range of proprietary and third-party dredging, cutting, ROV tooling and back deck ancillary equipment and services.
Core to developing the optimum solution is listening to our customers and understanding their unique challenges – so early engagement is key. As a leading subsea technology business with an established track record across the sector, we have first-hand experience of what will and won’t work – we have seen it all. Ultimately, we want to help our customers and we will always consider what will add most value, be more efficient, reduce operational risk and vessel time.
Centre of excellence capability deployed internationally
Since our acquisition of Underwater Cutting Solutions in 2019, Ashtead Technology’s ability to bring a decommissioning capability to international customers has significantly increased.
Drawing on a tried-and-tested project management model which combines our centre of excellence expertise in the UK with our bolstered international operational capability, we have recently executed multiple successful projects in the Gulf of Mexico, Middle East, Asia and West Africa.
Furthermore, we have laid the foundations for delivering further complex, multi-service decommissioning projects across these regions, as demand requires.
Decommissioning is an inherent part of the energy transition agenda with new ways of repurposing and reusing infrastructure being explored.
As a proactive participant in the energy transition, Ashtead Technology continues to work with industry partners and the supply chain to support the development of new technology and methodologies to improve efficiency and reduce cost and safety risk in an environmentally responsible manner.”