FPSO Stybarrow Venture MV16; Source: MODEC

Green light for Woodside’s decom activities offshore Australia

Australian energy giant Woodside has received a seal of approval from the country’s offshore regulator for an environment plan (EP), covering decommissioning and dismantling activities at a field off the coast of Australia.

FPSO Stybarrow Venture MV16; Source: MODEC

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) recently accepted Woodside’s environment plan, proposing to decommission in situ selected equipment within the Stybarrow field within the production license WA-32-L off the coast of Western Australia, around 56 km northwest of Exmouth, and in water depths of about 810  – 850 m.

The equipment, covered under this EP, encompasses nine anchors, ten suction base foundations piles, and a historical exploration wellhead buried in the seabed which will remain in situ. The Australian giant underlines that the management and removal of the other subsea equipment at the Stybarrow field is addressed in Stybarrow decommissioning and field management EP.

The petroleum activity in this EP is scheduled to start in March 2025, once the equipment removal activities described in the Stybarrow decommissioning and field management EP are completed. According to Woodside, the impacts associated with the ongoing presence of the equipment include long-term degradation of the materials, alteration of seabed and benthic habitats, and potential displacement or interactions with other users.

In May 2023, the Australian giant handed out a batch of contracts to TechnipFMC, Heerema, McDermott, Fugro, DOF, and McMahon for the removal and disposal of riser and disconnectable turret moorings, umbilicals, flowlines, and other subsea infrastructure at multiple offshore oil and gas fields, including Stybarrow. Aside from this, a deal for the permanent plug and abandonment of wells in the Stybarrow field was given to Transocean.

While the Stybarrow field was still in production, it comprised the MODEC-operated FPSO Stybarrow Venture MV16 – capable of processing 100,000 barrels of liquids per day and a storage capacity in the order of 900,000 barrels – with production, gas injection and water injection wells at four drill centers routed to the disconnectable turret mooring (DTM) via flexible flowlines.

Aside from pursuing decommissioning activities, Woodside is also continuing to move forward with work at the Pluto LNG facility with the ongoing arrival and installation of the Pluto Train 2 modules on-site in Karratha. The company has also started production from Senegal’s first offshore oil deepwater development.