East of England Energy Group aims to make Yarmouth centre of North Sea decommissioning industry

Julian Manning, Chairman, EEEGR Decommissioning Special Interest Group
Julian Manning, Chairman, EEEGR Decommissioning Special Interest Group

Companies hoping to be involved in the £-multi-billion offshore decommissioning sector in the southern North Sea will be able to find out about latest issues and options at an industry conference next week.

More than 1,000 wells need to be decommissioned in the Southern North Sea over the next 20 years.

The total cost of decommissioning platforms, production units and wells is estimated at £47 billion up to 2050. Only 10% of UKCS (UK Continental Shelf) assets have been commissioned so far.

The East of England has been told Great Yarmouth has “a golden opportunity” to become the world-class centre of excellence for decommissioning in the Southern North Sea

Industry leaders have pointed to Great Yarmouth’s industry and port as prime to become the southern North Sea decommissioning pioneers as well as in similar shallow waters off the Netherlands, Denmark and other areas.

Eric Marston, SNS area manager for the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) – also based in Aberdeen – will be among the speakers at the Decommissioning Special Interest Group event at Norwich  Football Club organised by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR).

The day-long event will focus on well-abandonment and well-deconstruction –  the most expensive parts of the decommissioning process.

According to the Aberdeen-based Decomm North Sea, Great Yarmouth’s purpose-built decommissioning yard developed by Peterson and partner Veolia, which opened last year, has put it ahead of other ports along the east coast that wanted to be involved in the North Sea dismantling and plugging and abandonment  programme,

Cutting decommissioning costs by 35% is among the top three priorities of the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) decommissioning strategy.

About £16-17bn is the expected decommissioning spend in the next decade, with half the costs funding well plugging and abandonment.

Julian Manning, of Baker Hughes and the SIG chairman, said: “The UK SNS is an ideal trialing ground for decommissioning in the sense that it is gas, has easier to handle infrastructure, and is much more accessible for companies to collaborate and campaign than the central and northern North Sea. 

“The prize is that the East of England could establish itself as a world class centre of excellence and very quickly create export opportunities outside the UKCS.

“This event focuses on well P&A and deconstruction and we have an excellent speaker line up bringing in experiences and technologies from outside the region to stimulate new ideas of lowering costs in this critical cost area.

“As well P&A costs will represent over 50% of the total decommissioning cost in the UK SNS and this event is a must attend for any stakeholder with an interest in this field.”

To support lowering subsea well deconstruction costs, EEEGR is planning to set up an operator working group, a development that will be discussed at a breakfast at Norwich City Football Club before the main event. Feedback on the breakfast will be discussed at the main event.

Simon Gray, EEEGR chief executive, said: “Our special interest groups are much valued events, which offer sector updates from operators, the government and the supply chain as well as sharing knowledge, cross-industry experience and ideas, networking and business opportunities.”

Other speakers include Donald MacArthur, engineering manager at Fraser Well Management – which last week opened a new branch office in Aberdeen.


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