Decommissioning — To end or extend?

By Sophie Chapman
All businesses have to operate in a cost-effective manner, and it’s no different for oil and gas industry companies.

All businesses have to operate in a cost-effective manner, and it’s no different for oil and gas industry companies. Operators are faced with the decision of extending or ending offshore production asset life, and pre-decommissioning planning has emerged as a key challenge for the industry. Mitigating uncertainty, enabling decision making and justification as to whether to end or extend asset life, as well as detailed knowledge of asset conditions, is crucial.

Tracerco, specialists in reactor performance, discuss how a range of diagnostics services can be used to provide this detailed knowledge throughout late life operations, and thereby increasing asset life.

It’s important to conduct regular analysis to see how your current assets are looking — this will allow you to collect data and make an informative decision whether to extend the life of your assets. In cases of initial assessment, technologies that can confirm structural integrity with regard to pipeline corrosion and erosion, flexible riser liner and carcass inspection, midwater arch/buoyancy tank inspection, platform member inspection and grout monitoring is essential. These technologies are vital during extended life campaigns, as regular inspection is required to confirm the viability of the asset.

Cost effective production can be gained through processing — allowing data to be collected through technological detections, diagnostic and measurement capabilities. Reservoir recovery is circa 30% to 40%, and with IOR/EOR technologies as an industry we have experienced a significant impact, where these percentages have been significantly increased. In IOR/EOR applications, chemical tracer technology can be used to manage fluid movement and maxmise hydrocarbon output by establishing water entry points, providing a water cut profile along the wellbore and confirming the water source from the formation or injection water movement when combined with waterflood tracing.

To confirm the impact chemical treatment can have, technology can enable operators to identify high flow permeable channels. In addition, operators can also measure waterflood effectiveness, residual oil saturation, water and oil inflow - which can often be used as an alternative to PLTs where they are deemed too risky, costly, or well design does not permit -  as well as effective water injection and mud invasion. This offers added safety measures during logging while drilling (LWD) using a specially designed monitor for source detection. 

Decommissioning planning must go ahead when event assets are no longer an option for your organisation. The important factor here is to ensure that the route taken mitigates risk and is carried out safely, considering the best interests of the environment as well as complying with local regulations and legislation. 

Using appropriate technology, you can gain a greater knowledge of the asset conditions and if appropriate, make the correct decisions when it comes to disposal. Diagnostic services can give information on the integrity of structures which can justify safe decommissioning. Knowledge of platform member integrity and flowline contents allows operators to assess the weight of structures (as well as ensure they are free from deposits/blockages) before any lifting, ensuing safe dismantling. However, equipment for NORM and LSA scale management, detection, and disposal – can ensure that decommissioning is as safe as possible. These services are also valuable in radioactive source recycling, further enhancing the safety and sustainability of operators’ decommissioning programmes.


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