NEWBURGH, UK – The National Decommissioning Centre (NDC) has officially opened in Newburgh, northeast Scotland.
This is a £38-million ($48.5-million) partnership between theOil & Gas Technology Centre and the University of Aberdeen, as part of the Aberdeen City Region Deal.
Forecasts suggest 100 UK offshore platforms and 5,700 km (3,542 mi) of pipelines will be decommissioned or re-used over the next decade.
The Oil and Gas Authority estimates the total cost ofUK oil and gas decommissioning at £58 billion ($74 billion) at present, and the NDC will work with the industry to achieve the 35% cost reduction target set by the regulator in 2016.
The new center will bring together academics and the industry with the aim of becoming the global leader in R&D in terms of reducing costs, extending field and asset life, and overhauling the conventional approach to decommissioning.
It will draw on the University of Aberdeen’s R&D capabilities in decommissioning technologies, predictive modeling, environmental assessment, and the economics of decommissioning.
Officials at the center are in talks with potential ‘anchor’ partners, with a view to bringing together researchers, industry specialists and business partners to help foster the optimum R&D environment.
Facilities offered by the NDC include what is said to be the most powerful industrial laser at any UK academic institution, a state-of-the-art digital visualization and collaboration suite, and a supercomputer cluster for rapid simulation and modeling of innovative decommissioning scenarios.
There are also facilities for technology trials and prototyping, such as a hyperbaric testing vessel that can simulate ocean conditions of 6,500 m (21,325 ft), an indoor freshwater immersion tank, environmental chambers for temperature testing from -40°C to +180°C (-40°F to +356°F), and hangar space for the design and construction of decommissioning technology.
Professor Richard Neilson from the University and the OGTC’s Dr Russell Stevenson are the joint heads at the center, and various projects are already under way.
The results will also be applicable to offshore renewables sector.
In addition, there are plans to collaborate with other R&D institutions and innovation centers across the UK active in late life asset management and decommissioning, and with fishing, marine, safety and environment organizations both in the UK and internationally.