Decommissioning in the North Sea presents unique challenges. According to Per Øystein Alvær of Norway's Det Norske Veritas, the need for removal standards led to DNV's involvement in establishing guidelines for marine operations when removing decommissioned offshore platforms.
Though the North Sea case was the impetus for setting guidelines, Alvær said, the final guidelines are applicable worldwide.
Alvær told attendees at the International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineering conference in Toulon, France, that rules for decommissioning were published in 1985, and updated in 1996. A new update is due to take place next year. "It will have to have regular updates to be a really good document," Alvær said.
DNV teamed with Total, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Shell UK in a joint industry project with the goal of producing standard regulations for marine decommissioning activities. The result was Work Document RP-102, which was issued in December 2003. These technical guidelines establish an acceptable low risk of failure, Alvær said.
The document sets guidelines for re-using removed objects in the condition in which they are removed, as well as standards for scrapping unusable components. It also addresses transport issues from the decommissioning site to shore.
DNV is pleased with the content of this document; Alvær said, though the specifications are likely to be modified when the document is put to the test.