What we can do now for future decommissioning

With every month that passes, the interest in North Sea decommissioning grows. Understandably, the topic has been thrust into the spotlight, as the oil price continues to challenge the North Sea industry. The industry body I lead, Decom North Sea, is about setting decommissioning within that context.

However, let’s be clear, we do not advocate premature decommissioning – far from it. Our objective is to shift the decommissioning focus from purely post-COP, and for good reason. We’re paying close attention to the Late Life phase, ensuring it is managed as effectively as possible; in other words, we’re looking at what can we do now, which will benefit future decommissioning projects while learning from previous decommissioning projects.

We’ve spoken to our members and it is clear that the desire is there to maximise economic recovery, maintaining existing infrastructure for as long as it remains efficient and cost-effective. Equally however, we recognise that now is the time to ensure they understand – and become an integral part of – a robust decommissioning supply chain, making sure that they are ready for action, when the time comes.

To achieve this, our constant aim is to bring the regulators, operators and supply chain together. We help raise the profile of SMEs across the industry, facilitating their relationships with operators and providing an in-depth understanding of the late life and decommissioning scope and legislation. That is the key to ensuring decommissioning work will be undertaken in a timely – and cost-effective – manner.

Recently we have dedicated a lot of our attention to late life planning. We have developed the Late Life Planning Portal (L2P2) which provides the ultimate decommissioning toolkit: a repository for lessons learned, a forum for discussion and a gateway to contacts, analytics and market intelligence. When an industry is in its infancy, a toolkit such as this provides fundamental support in achieving the overarching objectives of efficiency, simplification, standardisation and cooperation.

I would urge anyone with an interest in, or knowledge of, late life and decommissioning to take a look. Industry professionals like yourselves are the key to its success and with that to a successful, cost-effective decommissioning sector.

Roger Esson

Chief Executive at Decom North Sea


Roger Esson is chief executive of industry body, Decom North Sea. Since its inception in 2010, it has grown to more than 350 global members drawn from operators, major contractors, service specialists and technology developers.

Decom North Sea plays a vital role in solution development and cross sector learning and is helping to build supply-chain capability. In the UK, it works with a number of strategic partners including Oil & Gas UK, the Oil and Gas Authority and DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) to achieve these objectives. Roger will be chairing two technical sessions: “Decommissioning: Status and Regulations” and “Decommissioning: Collaboration and Cost Efficiency” at Offshore Energy 16.

This complete column will also be published in the Offshore Energy Newsflash – out August 8th.

More on these sessions and the whole conference program can be found on the event’s website: www.offshore-energy.biz

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