We’ve already seen the start of the market shift towards decommissioning. Before 2014, there was a lot of talk about how to deal with the issue of offshore infrastructure getting older, but not a lot of actual work being done, and the infrastructure hadn’t been designed to be removed. Nowadays, it just isn’t practical for oil operators or governments to leave such a high liability on the seabed.
The growing market
In the North Sea alone, more than 400 fields are expected to cease production by 2026 at an estimated cost of $56 billion. Globally, over 700 fields are expected to require decommissioning.
Decommissioning the Janice field
At Maersk Supply Service, I was heavily involved in the decommissioning of the Janice / Leadon field in the UK North Sea. Throughout these projects, it became clear to me how valuable it could be to have one contact point managing the decommissioning process. As both the project managers and the offshore service providers, we were able to optimise the vessel schedules as we managed all the operations with our own fleet, and be flexible and adapt quickly to challenges presented by the 20 year old equipment we were recovering that was not designed for decommissioning. We were even able to use our marine experience, combined with the right level of engineering, to create and execute innovate ways to use our vessels for recovering the subsea products.
Taking it to the next level
Two weeks ago, we announced the joint venture between Maersk Drilling and Maersk Supply Service to provide bundled solutions that, to start with, will cover up to 80% of the decommissioning process for oil and gas operators. The goal of the company is to combine our specialist knowledge, experience, and assets to lower the overall cost and risk for our customers. We have already received some great feedback from the industry on this initiative and I’m looking forward to engaging more with the operators, regulators and the full supply chain to find the right solutions for each specific project.