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    Research to be revealed at decommissioning event

    News // March 27, 2013

    Research identifying strengths and weaknesses in the oil and gas decommissioning sector will be outlined to delegates attending a one-day event for the sector taking place in Aberdeen.

    Decom Offshore 2013 is being held by offshore oil and gas decommissioning forum Decom North Sea (DNS) at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, to help overcome the challenges facing companies dealing with infrastructure at the end of the lifecycle.

    The aim of the day, entitled '‘Decom Offshore – Confronting Challenges, Creating Opportunities’, is for operators and major contractors to provide a collaborative view of their main challenges to the industry, and to showcase some of the innovative technologies, techniques and solutions available to help overcome key issues faced in decommissioning projects.   

    UK Energy Minister John Hayes is attending the event. He said: “Decommissioning is a relatively new business for the UK and represents an enormous and exciting opportunity for British companies. If we get it right the UK could become a global centre of excellence.

    “As the number of projects increases it is also important that we find the most cost effective way to remove oil and gas infrastructure from the North Sea in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.”

    Headline results from two recent studies will be shared with the delegates.

    DNS chief executive Brian Nixon said: “There has been much speculation recently on the capability and capacity of the oil and gas industry to support forthcoming decommissioning programmes. 

    "Decom North Sea was therefore pleased to partner with the oil and gas team at Scottish Enterprise in order to commission two complementary studies designed to provide some clarity on this issue.

    “The first study has mapped out the very diverse range of technologies, skills, services and facilities needed in each phase of decommissioning, and has assessed the industry's capabilities and experience in each area.

    "The project has benefited from a survey of Decom North Sea member companies, a full day facilitated workshop, desk top research plus face to face interviews with industry professionals. 

    "The results, which will be made available on the Decom North Sea website, show a good percentage of companies reporting capability in most decommissioning activities, whereas a much smaller number were able to record having actually proven their technologies or skills in a decommissioning project.

    “The report also points to an imbalance across the various phases of decommissioning activity, suggesting greater industry capability in areas like preparation, engineering down, cleaning and onshore disposal, but less capability in wells plugging and abandonment and continuing liability.’’

    The second report looks at the key aspects of decommissioning activity in the coming years and makes an assessment of the available industry capacity.

    With recently announced increased investments in new capital developments, sustained levels of operational expenditure, a ramping up in offshore wind developments, and growing activity in decommissioning, the report not surprisingly highlights areas where capacity is likely to be particularly tight. Examples include engineering staff, drilling rigs for wells P&A, and vessels (including heavy lift).

    Mr Nixon said: “These complimentary reports will provide a valuable insight into the shape and strength of the industry in advance of a sustained programme of decommissioning across the North Sea. They will also highlight areas where innovation, capacity building or investment may be required, thus allowing Scottish Enterprise and Decom North Sea to target their support to greatest effect.’’


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