Collaboration needed for UK North Sea decommissioning

Operators in the southern UK North Sea must find quick and cost effective means to decommission oil production facilities, according to trade association Oil & Gas UK.

Uchenna Izundu
OGJ International Editor

LONDON, May 27 -- Operators in the southern UK North Sea must find quick and cost effective means to decommission oil production facilities, according to trade association Oil & Gas UK.

Decommissioning more than 300 platforms, 13,000 km of pipeline, and 800 wells in the UK and Dutch sector of the southern North Sea offers the potential for new technical solutions. Projects are already under way in the area.

Paul Dymond, OGUK's operations and supply chain director, expects to see a critical mass of decommissioning activity within the next 5 years. Collaboration between asset owners and effective communication with the supply chain is important to underpin smarter and more cost effective decommissioning, he said at a decommissioning conference in Newcastle, UK.

Gunther Newcombe, head of decommissioning at BP, recommended that contracting strategies, simplification, and the transfer of best practice from the Gulf of Mexico would stimulate industry to innovate and drive costs down.

Win Thornton, Chevron's manager of international decommissioning, added that a steady stream of projects over 2 decades in the Gulf of Mexico had created a well-developed market for decommissioning. But managing the process is difficult as operators must handle the work breakdown structure, onshore disposal and management, and different contracting strategies.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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