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Technology innovation key to optimising decommissioning activity in UKCS

Project Summary

The total cost of UK offshore oil and gas decommissioning is estimated to be £48bn. With a shared objective of industry and government to reduce decommissioning costs, technology innovation can unlock cost savings.

NZTC supported AECOM to assess current decommissioning practices to identify where innovation could optimise the decommissioning scope and reduce costs. AECOM reviewed current practices and assessed the value of various innovations, grouping them into ‘innovation pathways’ to better inform NZTC.

Industry value:
Oil and gas are a key part of the future energy mix, but we must decarbonise operations. NZTC are investing in technology to help reduce oil and gas operational emissions. This includes solutions that enable:

  • Platform electrification from the shore and offshore wind
  • Methane leak detection
  • Mitigation of venting/flaring
  • Reduction of field development, logistics and decommissioning carbon footprints

Key results:
AECOM developed ‘innovation pathways’ and described new and original methodology for assessing potential value of innovations using a value framework set against the work breakdown structure (WBS) for decommissioning.

They identified that the 35% cost reduction target set by the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) is achievable and that around 50% of the saving will come from deployment of new technology – predominantly in wells. AECOM also identified that the remaining 50% would come from “methods innovation”, where the key areas of focus are in campaigning, services and scope reduction. They additionally identified opportunities for deployment of digital technologies to enable efficient decommissioning.

Lessons learned:
AECOM recommend that NZTC are critical to the development of technology to achieve the OGA’s targets.

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