UK dominates North Sea decommissioning

Operators will perform decommissioning on 349 oil and gas fields in the North Sea during 2017-25, more than half of them in UK waters, according to an annual report by Oil & Gas UK.


Decommissioning will occur on 214 fields off the UK, 106 off the Netherlands, 23 off Norway, and 6 off Denmark, according to the industry group.


For all four regions, the study projects complete or partial removal of more than 200 platforms, plugging and abandonment of nearly 2,500 wells, and decommissioning of nearly 7,800 kilometres of pipeline.


During the next 5fiveyears, Oil & Gas UK expects decommissioning expenditures to average £1.7-2 billion/year off the UK and £400-800 million/year off Norway and to total £650-800 million off the Netherlands.


Off the UK only, 46% of £17 billion estimated to be spent on decommissioning during 2017-25 will be in the central North Sea, and 49% of the total will be for plugging and abandoning wells, according to the report.