All around the globe, offshore oil and gasoline services are coming to the top of their lives. In the North Sea, decommissioning is anticipated to be required on 349 completely different fields earlier than 2025, and on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) alone, round 100 platforms and seven,500km of pipeline are as a consequence of be decommissioned.

The course of is required on each website within the North Sea, however it’s infamously high-risk and high-cost, costing each operators and the UK Government hundreds of thousands on each website that reaches the top of its life, whereas providing nearly no returns. Carrying out decommissioning successfully and effectively is due to this fact an actual necessity going ahead.

The University of Aberdeen has discovered what it believes to be the reply – a Master’s diploma in decommissioning. The coaching of people in all features of the method has the potential to considerably scale back prices, in addition to the environmental influence of decommissioning. David Vega-Maza, senior lecturer in engineering and MSc in Decommissioning coordinator on the University of Aberdeen highlights its potential.

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Elliot Gardner: Can you inform us extra concerning the course and the way it got here to be?

David Vega-Maza: This is a Master of Science (MSc) diploma in offshore decommissioning. We cowl the authorized, enterprise and economics, organic science, and engineering features. We’re attempting to faucet into all these completely different sides as a result of decommissioning is a very multidisciplinary subject material. You can’t decommission a platform or pipeline with out bearing in mind the environmental and regulatory features, or the attainable contracts and enterprise plans, and clearly all of the technological and engineering options.

The origins of the course happened three years in the past. We thought it was time to check out decommissioning from a special perspective. There are some misconceptions to beat. It’s extra sophisticated than simply the scrapping of an offshore set up. People working inside the varied features of decommissioning acquired in contact and instructed us that there’s a data hole right here.

And there was no single MSc programme in the entire world speaking about this very popular matter. So that’s what we created. We began final yr, so we’ve simply had the primary cohort of scholars via, who at the moment are ending. The University of Aberdeen is working along with Robert Gordon University (RGU) to ship a flagship providing from the northeast of Scotland, in Aberdeen – a instructing expertise.

Decommissioning has solely simply appeared on folks’s radars in the previous couple of years. Why do you suppose that’s?

I feel it’s a mixture of things. At the bottom stage, we merely should do it. Our property within the North Sea, and naturally elsewhere on this planet, are outdated. Many of them are approaching end-of-life. There are legal guidelines in place that say you need to take away them as soon as they’re out of service. You should decommission them.

It’s all the time been the case, however some corporations weren’t actually fascinated with it. Then abruptly many of those 30-40-year-old platforms got here to end-of-life all collectively.

I don’t deny that the oil and gasoline worth downturn was additionally an element. Many of those installations have been now not economically viable. So these corporations thought that now could be the time to look into decommissioning their services.

Decommissioning is a high-risk, high-cost facet of the trade. How essential is it to have people educated particularly in decommissioning?

It is high-risk, particularly when it comes to value. In the UK there’s a tax reduction system to help in the price of decommissioning. The authorities due to this fact clearly needs to cut back prices. Many of those decommissioned installations will get between 40%-70% tax reduction. At the top of the day that is taxpayers’ cash.

There are alternative ways of decreasing the associated fee however the popular possibility is with expertise, know-how, and with classes discovered. This isn’t simply our opinion; that is what many offshore corporations suppose too.

Obviously we’ve nice engineers and consultants who may do a…

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