An insight into how the North Sea decommissioning market will take shape over the next seven years was one of two key guides launched at a decommissioning conference organised by Oil & Gas UK and Decom North Sea.
Speaking at the two-day conference, sponsored by Aberdeen Harbour Board, Oil & Gas UK’s upstream policy director Mike Tholen said: “Now in its eighth year, we’ve broadened the scope of the 2017 issue of our popular Decommissioning Insight so that it now includes decommissioning activities off Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands as well as those on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). This additional information will help the supply chain better understand the demand for their service and expertise from now until 2025.”
Key findings of the 2017 Decommissioning Insight include the fact that, from 2017 to 2025, decommissioning is forecast to take place on 349 fields across the four regions of the North Sea, including six fields on the Danish Continental Shelf, 23 fields on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), 106 fields on the Dutch Continental Shelf and 214 fields on the UKCS.
Across these regions, the infrastructure scheduled for decommissioning includes more than 200 platforms forecast for complete or partial removal, close to 2,500 wells expected to be plugged and abandoned and nearly 7,800 km of pipeline forecast to be decommissioned.
When set against this wider context, the forecast for the UK reveals it is the largest market with decommissioning, as a proportion of total UKCS expenditure, increasing from 2% in 2010 to 7% in 2016, when the market was worth £1.2Bn (US$1.6Bn). Operators forecast this figure will rise to 11% (£1.8Bn) this year.
From 2017 to 2025, £17Bn is forecast to be spent on decommissioning on the UKCS.
Annual expenditure on the UKCS is forecast to remain consistent over the near term at £1.7–2Bn per year, which compares with £400–800M on the NCS and a forecast of £650–800M on the Dutch Continental Shelf. £7.9Bn (46%) of the total UKCS decommissioning spend from 2017 to 2025 will be concentrated in the central North Sea.