The Gulf of Mexico basin covers roughly 1.6 million km2 and is without doubt one of the most vital petroleum manufacturing areas on the planet. A good portion of the world is shallow continental shelf waters. These areas have been developed first by oil firms, with deeper water improvement solely being undertaken as soon as the ‘simpler’ websites had been exploited.

Many years on, quite a few shallow water platforms have been efficiently decommissioned and the trade is beginning to view the deep-water websites with a view to the identical.

GoM Decommissioning Trends
Established in London practically 40 years in the past, London Offshore Consultants (LOC Group) is a global, multi-disciplinary group with over 30 places of work worldwide and greater than 400 certified professionals. Alan Clifton, LOC’s Operations Director has greater than 35 years of expertise in all elements of offshore and onshore building. As precept Marine Warranty Surveyor (MWS) he has accepted operations – transportation, set up and decommissioning – each onshore and offshore, all all over the world.

Clifton lately relocated to LOC’s Houston workplace from LOC’s Norwegian workplace the place he beforehand was masking decommissioning operations within the extraordinarily tough atmosphere of the North Sea. In September, he weighed in on each the historical past and way forward for Gulf of Mexico decommissioning operations.

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Clifton explains that till lately, decommissioning has not been a “headline” consideration within the Gulf of Mexico. Shallow water decommissioning has been comparatively routine, with topsides and jackets being eliminated and delivered to shore for scrapping or re-purposing, or within the case of some jackets, purposefully sunk to kind synthetic reefs, which gives sanctuary to marine life and wildlife within the space.

Over the final 20 years, LOC’s focus has been predominantly on the set up of latest services within the Gulf. LOC’s Houston workplace has labored on the set up of many deep-water initiatives and glued platforms, together with TLPs, Spas, FPSOs, and subsea installations, whereas the LOC Tampico workplace has targeting shallower water initiatives in Mexican waters.

This is beginning to change. Quite a lot of the platforms in deeper water are reaching the tip of life stage and decommissioning will quickly change into essential. The means of decommissioning these bigger and deeper water platforms might be extra complicated and require extra detailed and engineered options to plan and execute such operations safely and successfully.

“Decommissioning is a slowly rising market,” stated Alan, including, “We are in dialog with a number of oil firms about future initiatives, however the timescale is unsure. In widespread with operators all all over the world, the precise determination to decommission is dependent upon many variables – with the worth of oil worldwide, the worth and availability of oil and fuel from onshore fracking, and more and more stringent rules – all influencing the choice. It prices cash to decommission a platform and so no operator desires to launch a expensive course of in the event that they don’t must in unsure financial occasions.”

But he says that the trade’s focus has additionally shifted considerably for the reason that Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, including: “Nowadays, firms trying to decommission a construction need to be seen as a accountable and ‘good’ enterprise. Oil firms’ popularity is now uppermost. Lessons have been discovered from expertise all over the world and with a powerful and vigilant environmental foyer, firms are approaching the method very otherwise.”

Looking Back
The decommissioning of the smaller platforms within the Gulf of Mexico has usually concerned smaller tools which is already positioned within the area, together with available and nicely developed native experience. The decommissioning of bigger and deeper buildings would require bigger tools which isn’t essentially regionally based mostly and would require extra complicated planning and execution.

LOC has labored on most of the…

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