Realising the Potential for Re-use or Re-sale

Operators of the platforms are generally making no financial return on decommissioning. So….

Is there an effective way to turn these challenges into opportunities?

The Digital North Sea will identify facilities that are coming out of service and quickly realise any potential for re-use.

By creating a digital copy of both topsides and subsea facilities, in a real time visual, inventories can be accessed showing status, condition, age, criticality and risk. By using these inventories, we can quickly establish the viability for re-use and, given enough time to market, these opportunities can be shared.

Options may include Platforms being stripped of existing processes whilst retaining primary steel, decks, cranes, helidecks, safety systems, communications and living quarters, and be repurposed. Individual packages could be sold on and we could even get down to the ‘pooling’ of spares.

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Competitive Tendering

Having access to a digital application that links operators to the supply chain, to share information and promote a competitive tendering process – can increase the opportunities for a circular economy.


Data; Availability and Quality

Planning for late life and decommissioning, should have data management on the critical path.

Knowing what data you need, and planning to have that data available is critical to the productivity of the Decommissioning Team. The data needed to manage late life and decommissioning is a different mix to the metrics we use during production.

The keys to successful data management are:


  • Knowing what to collect and how to collect it
  • Data availability
  • Data quality

The main challenges related to data:

  • Gathering and sharing data with other project stakeholders
  • Being able to query and update data (e.g. maintenance history, replacements, modifications, etc.) currently stored on a variety of databases and software tools.
  • Providing optimised maintenance and decommissioning programs

We have identified key data requirements:

  • Status
  • Condition
  • Age
  • Risk
  • Criticality
  • Attributes and Metadata

Once compiled they will dictate our late life maintenance regime and also allow for Well Plug & Abandonment planning.

If we plan to look at re-use options, we can further data mine into

  • Running hours
  • Breakdowns
  • Specifications
  • Redundancies
  • Manufacturers
Well data

Well data

Having access to a centralised database, will allow management and regulators to build a strategy based on the outputs the data will give. Having the right data to hand when you need it is imperative.

Given the diversity of existing software, together with the varying accuracy and reliability of data, it is essential that any new or innovative product has the ability to cater for all stakeholders whilst drawing from and utilising different data sources

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Late life and decommissioning of Oil and Gas facilities in the North Sea is one of the largest engineering, logistical and ecological challenges currently facing the UK. This program will come with a substantial cost to operators and also the UK government and tax payer, who too are on the hook.

Current estimates range from 50-100 Billion pounds (no one really knows the true cost and these estimates could increase).

There is therefore a lot of pressure to get the costs down and under control.

Current cost assessments to decommission are generally not based on good technical data; instead we often use the rule of thumb, or knowledge from previous projects.

Other parameters that can keep costs high include lack of standardisation and poor visibility of scope.

Carrying out enough forward planning could reduce, and in some cases, eliminate uncertainty. This will in turn determine our strategy.

If you add into that strategy, the possibility of repurposing then you have some serious options for savings. By creating a digital copy, potential purchasers can see without visiting, and access with their fingertips the data that supports the decision to buy.


An eBay for the Industry (North Sea Bay)


A Standard Model for Late Life and Decommissioning

For Topsides, the Unasys Technology is based on the reverse of a standard for bringing facilities into service. It’s a standard that can be shared among operators that will help them to develop their own scopes of work around late life and decommissioning.

For well plug and abandonment this will all come down to age and condition. By planning early and keeping the supporting well data up to date, can reduce uncertainty by having all the information to hand. It would be difficult to build a standard for plug and abandonment, but what we can do is ensure standardisation around how we measure status and condition, and what data and documentation is needed.


May Help Facilitate an Extension to the Late Life of an asset

There are many reasons why we may want to extend the life of a facility.

It could be around available space within the UK’s recycling yards, or a significant upturn in the oil price.

Opting for a later window gives us an opportunity for being better prepared and to reduce the time from COP to leaving the field.

There are a number of ways we can do this

  • Having a digital copy and model of our facility gives better access to data and a means to establish the condition of our facilities.
  • A standard for preparing our facility for removal meaning reduced manpower.
  • Reduced maintenance during the Plug & Abandonment period below fixed installations meaning reduced manpower

Better Environmental Control

How we leave the seabed, and how we tackle waste, are just two of the environmental issues that can be managed in the Digital North Sea.

The basic mantra is that everything must be removed in a safe and controlled manner unless a case can be made to leave it in situ.

For seabed installed infrastructure, comparative assessments can be made using the digital copy once we know what is down there, together with status, size, weight, structure and ultimately, condition.

All of this data will be collated and held together with time lined sea bed bathymetry.

An inventory of waste material including norm can also be developed, so that a plan can be placed for best case, elimination, or worst case, disposal. (consumables will also be included).

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Strategy and Roadmap

Operators need to bring all of their facilities together under a single strategy for late life and decommissioning.

Best practice together with pooling and aligning resources are paramount. Teams need access to the right tools and data, to help manage:

·       Timing

·       Maintenance

·       Power consumption and alternative supply

·       Comparative assessments


 They need to see the options available and bring all the stakeholders together as one.

A digital copy of their facilities can help to achieve this; through its visuals, access to data, and standard procedures.