Aug. 19, 2015
This month, Infield Systems looks at offshore aging infrastructure in the northwest European continental shelf (NWECS), with specific focus on offshore fixed platforms. According to Infield Systems’ data, around 46% of operational fixed platforms in the NWECS are 25 years and older, surpassing their original design life. With the UK being one of the first countries to exploit offshore reserves in the region it is no surprise that the country has the largest amount of operational fixed platforms aged 25 years and over. This means that the UK will likely become an increasingly important market for IRM and offshore decommissioning in the future. The vast majority of platforms in the NWECS region that are 25 years old and over are piled platforms, with 46% of them weighing less than 3,000 metric tons (3,306 tons). Besides the UK, the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark also have a number of aging fixed platforms which support potential opportunities for future IRM and decommissioning contractors.

In terms of operator exposure to aging fixed platforms, Infield Systems’ data shows that Perenco currently operates the largest number of offshore platforms within the aforementioned age range (17%), all of which are situated in the UK on fields such as Leman and Indefatigable. Perenco also currently operates three of the oldest operational platforms in the region (49 years), located at its West Sole gas field in the southern North Sea. IRM will likely increase as platforms are extended beyond their original design life. Historical high oil prices had enabled operators to extend the life of fixed platforms past their original design life. However, when the global oil price collapsed in 2014, the economic benefits of extending the life of some aging fixed platforms has likely become more difficult, which could prompt operators to evaluate their options for keeping aging assets at marginal fields in production.

–George Griffiths, Senior Energy Researcher, Infield Systems