NSTA map supports new project to spark commercial transformation in subsea decommissioning

Source: press release, 11 May 2022

illustration: NSTA
illustration: NSTA

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) is providing vital support which will help four North Sea operators in their ambition to reduce their subsea decommissioning costs by 50%.

CNR International, EnQuest, TAQA and TotalEnergies currently estimate they will have to spend GBP 1 billion to decommission their UKCS subsea infrastructure over the next 15 years. This represents about a quarter of the forecast subsea infrastructure decommissioning bill for the whole basin.

At a webinar hosted by Decom North Sea, the operators launched an intensive round of engagement with suppliers in an effort to identify partners in driving technical and technological innovation. They will explore whether combining the work in a single package would open up new ways of working and save money on decommissioning.

The NSTA has led on a key pillar of the project – creating a map and a dataset of the assets, which can be downloaded from the NSTA website. Designed in response to the supply chain’s call for greater visibility of future workscopes, these detailed resources will form the basis of the discussion and help service companies bring game-changing ideas to the table.

The operators started considering combining their decommissioning projects in one portfolio in 2018, but it was 2 years later that they narrowed the focus to subsea infrastructure. The group also named itself the Subsea Decommissioning Collaboration (SDC) and signed a charter to guide their ongoing work.

The new dataset represents a substantial improvement in the volume and quality of published data and the SDC is keen to receive feedback on how it could be improved further.

Commercial transformation is one of four focus areas in the NSTA’s Decommissioning Strategy, published last year. This involves the cultivation of a competitive, sustainable market – the enablers for which are a collaborative culture, decommissioning at scale and data transparency.

Pauline Innes, Head of Decommissioning at the NSTA, says, “The maps and datasets created by the NSTA are a key enabler of this project and we are proud to support these operators, which are working together to drive efficiency through large-scale decommissioning projects, which is exactly what we want to encourage.”

“The SDC is a great opportunity to reduce financial burden by developing new technologies and working more efficiently. This, in turn, will stimulate the development of a competitive and sustainable decommissioning market in which the supply chain can thrive long-term,” Innes continues.

Iain Lewis, CFO & Decommissioning Director at TAQA, says, “TAQA is delighted to co-lead the SDC initiative, which offers a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with other operators on decommissioning delivery. Subsea infrastructure removal on an industrial scale is both a challenge and an opportunity for our industry, so we look forward to working together, and with the supply chain, to find innovative solutions and new ways of working to sustain safe, responsible and cost-efficient decommissioning into the future.”