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Data looks beyond traditional heavy lift vessels to support decommissioning

Project Summary

Heavy lift vessels are widely used in offshore decommissioning, but there is little publicly available data on the forecast availability of these resources.

This detailed market assessment developed a supply and demand model covering the decommissioning heavy-lift market to highlight potential imbalances for the period up to 2025. The demand from other markets, such as renewables, was directly assessed in relation to macro influences, vessel and supplier positioning, and vessel technical capabilities. The combination of quantitative analysis and qualitative assessment allowed the development of a transparent interactive model that compares the supply/demand elements and illustrates the capacity required across the range of lift weight requirements, in addition to use of vessels across oil and gas decommissioning versus renewables installation activities.

Industry value:
Quantitative and qualitative assessment has allowed the development of a transparent interactive model that compares supply and demand, illustrating potential imbalances. Enabling, identifying and developing alternative removal techniques has the potential to contribute to the NSTA target of reducing the cost of decommissioning by at least 35%.

This report showed there is sufficient capacity in the “ultra-heavy” category, therefore the alternatives to traditional heavy lifts at the lower capacity level is where focus should be applied.

Key results:
Baillex obtained sufficient data to compare and analyse heavy lift activity for all weight classes. The study highlighted that growth and development in non-decommissioning markets may lead to limited or insufficient vessel availability in key weight groupings between 1,000 and 10,000 tonnes meet the planned levels of decommissioning removal activities.

This is likely to lead to either direct cost increases, further delays or increased indirect costs if no action is taken, therefore the following recommendations were suggested:

  • Create a mandated central register of facilities due for removal
  • Creating a benchmark cost system to reduce procurement cost
  • Develop “non-conventional” removal technology

Lessons learned:
The supply of suitable vessels within the decommissioning heavy lift market is greatly influenced by the larger oil and gas installation and offshore wind market installation markets. These alternative markets are not only larger in scale but also have market drivers and schedules that are clearer and more readily monitored and understood by the vessel providers. The lack of market clarity on the timing of service requirement is directly reflected in the low levels of market focus given to the decommissioning sector by service/vessel providers. Greater market clarity and enhanced certainty on timing, combined with earlier market engagement could reduce the risk of further schedule changes or increased costs.

The report findings have been shared with key stakeholders, academia and the wider supply chain to continue discussion and engagement.


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