ABERDEEN, UK -- Decommissioning the 260-plus platforms offshore Britain over the next three decades could cost over $30 billion, according to a report by Deloitte and Douglas-Westwood.
They also expect the projected workload to exceed the capacities of both the current heavy-lift vessel fleet and existing onshore decommissioning sites. Much of the activity and associated spending, they add, should take place during 2017- 2027.
Oliver Sanderson, an analyst for Douglas-Westwood, says: “Delivery of new vessels is urgent and four more onshore yards may be needed in order to meet increased onshore demand.
“Our research clearly demonstrates that decommissioning activity in the UKCS region is happening right now and that it will ramp up even further over the next decade. On average, this represents a $1 billion per year prize over the next thirty years.
“The anticipated level of decommissioning will provide a major business opportunity for the oil services industry – especially vessel operators and well service companies and could be a significant boost to regional economies.”
Graham Sadler, managing director, Petroleum Services, Deloitte, says: “Decommissioning itself is not a new phenomenon. Some projects have already been completed in the UK and in other regions such as the Gulf of Mexico, however, the challenges posed by the North Sea structures because of their scale and the local climate, represents a significant challenge.”
TheUKCS Offshore Decommissioning Market Report 2010-2040 examines two scenarios: the first is a “business as usual” situation in which existing heavy-lift vessels are used for decommissioning projects. The second assumes a step change in offshore lifting technology using Super Heavy-Lift Vessels (SLVs) capable of lifting upwards of 15,000 metric tons (16,534 tons).
The cost forecast covers all aspects of the decommissioning from the plugging and abandonment of subsea wells to onshore deconstruction and recycling.