UK: New Session Added to Annual Offshore Decommissioning Conference Agenda

A brand new session covering the importance of preparing for decommissioning projects has been added to the topical line up of issues to be discussed at the annual Offshore Decommissioning Conference, which is co-organised by Decom North Sea (DNS) and Oil & Gas UK.

The session, entitled ‘Late Life Operations and Preparation for Decommissioning’, is scheduled for day one of the conference, which is being held at the Fairmont Hotel, St Andrews, on 9-11 October this year. Ernst & Young LLP was recently announced as principal sponsor for this year’s conference.

Roger Esson, Late Life Manager at AMEC, and Alex West, Chief Executive at Westlord Associates, have led on the organisation of this part of the conference. The session will cover subjects including late life integrity management and transition from liability to project estimates. There will also be discussion about a recent safety case and the session will finish with a workshop on minimisation of post COP expenditure.

DNS Chief Executive Brian Nixon said: “The decommissioning of an asset is the last part of its life cycle, but there is a significant amount of work required before production ceases as well as afterwards in preparation for disposal. This session covers an imperative area of decommissioning – many of the North Sea’s near-future oil and gas decommissioning projects will be the first to be undertaken by their respective operators.

“The detailed decommissioning plans that have to be prepared in advance by each operator require considerable research into design considerations, options appraisal, environmental impact assessments, risk identification and mitigation, technical and safety management and many other aspects. It is essential that operators are well-prepared for what is involved in the decommissioning phase.”

The conference will be chaired jointly by Brian Nixon and Paul Dymond, Oil & Gas UK’s Operations director. They will be joined by a line-up of industry experts, who will share their knowledge of decommissioning and encourage delegates to participate in a range of interactive discussions on topical issues including current and projected decommissioning levels, lessons learned from recent major projects and collaboration and re-use.

Paul Dymond said: “With the variety of topics covered in this new session, attendees will have an excellent opportunity to bring themselves up to date with the latest developments in decommissioning, a sector of growing importance in the North Sea oil and gas industry.”

Hester Cameron, Decommissioning Compliance Manager at BP, will give an overview of BP’s experiences in this area during the new session. As an asset has continued to age, its condition can deteriorate and the issues of integrity management can incur significant costs. Operator, Perenco, has recently undergone an asset transfer in the southern North Sea. Keith Tucker, Decommissioning Manager at Perenco, will discuss late life integrity management issues and how this is addressed.

When an asset moves from the operational phase into decommissioning, the safety case must be revised to reflect the change in the significant accident hazards. During the session, Stewart Millar from the Health and Safety Executive will discuss the differences between the operating environments, the expectations that HSE has for this documentation and when appropriate revisions are required.

Although the export of oil and gas may have ceased on an installation, significant costs can be incurred while the preparation for abandonment of the facility continues. The plenary session is an opportunity for the conference to look at post COP expenditure and where opportunities exist to reduce costs.

With decommissioning North Sea oil and gas facilities projected to cost £30billion or more over the next three decades, the overall focus for the interactive conference will be on reflecting on the past and preparing for the future.

The annual event follows on from two previous sell out conferences, with over 240 delegates from the UK, Norway, The Netherlands and the USA attending the 2011 conference.

Across the two conference days, a full schedule of workshops and presentations will cover main themes including a market update, current and future projects, management of platform well plugging and abandonment and an update on industry initiatives.

Press Release, September 26, 2012; Image: DNS

 

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