Offshore Decommissioning Market

Decommissioning of existing offshore oil and gas structures is a sector that has
become a renewed source of income and work for many offshore affiliated companies.

Offshore decommissioning market

While the low oil and gas prices have been relatively bad news for almost all parties involved in the offshore oil and gas sectors, there is a niche sector that could benefit – decommissioning of the current oil infrastructures. This trend is becoming more and more apparent, especially in the North Sea due to the age of the existing rigs and more stringent environmental regulations that regulate the industry. The low oil price has resulted in a large number of existing oil rigs being commercially viable prompting the owners to review their assets in many cases downgrading their fleet. The decommissioning process remains mandatory, as the abandoned structures and wells can be damaged and pose a potential environmental risk.

Topside removal

In most cases the topsides are removed by reverse installation i.e. the modules are lifted from the platform and placed on a transportation barge or the deck of the crane vessel. Depending on the size and weight of the platform this operation can be a single lift operation or a partial dismantling is required. Both processes require detailed engineering ensuring that the operation is executed safely and with minimal environmental impact.

Subsea infrastructure removal

The work consists of the disconnection, the recovery to the surface, the transportation to shore and the offloading of the subsea components, such as BOP’s, jackets and pipelines. Due to the fact that the works take place under the ocean surface the works are highly complex and require detailed planning and engineering. The safe plugging of the well is also an issue that needs special attention.

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North Sea Decommissioning

In the Gulf of Mexico, the industry took more than 1,000 structures out of service from 2010 through 2014. Now it’s the North Sea’s turn (which involves the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, and Denmark). Here, platform size and complexity as well as the physical and regulatory environment make decommissioning a far more complex and difficult challenge. Current North Sea decommissioning estimates cover removing more than 500 fixed installations and more than 500 subsea production systems, and plugging and abandoning (P&A) more than 10,000 wells.

Projects

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