Stephen Diplock, Operations Manager, last week presented at the Offshore Decommissioning Conference in St Andrews, alongside BP and Saipem, sharing the lessons learned on the decommissioning of the BP Miller platform earlier this year. The project completed to schedule following a successful collaboration between the three organisations. Petrofac’s Director of Late Life and Decommissioning, David Hutchison, shares his thoughts on how this might be repeated and improved upon for future decommissioning projects.
“Before the Miller project commenced, the interface between Petrofac, as Duty Holder of Miller, and Saipem, the Engineer, Prepare, Remove, Dispose (EPRD) contractor, was not defined beyond the statutory,” explains David. “This enabled collaboration and teamwork to flourish between both parties; whose only goal was to jointly execute the work efficiently to service BP’s goals and maximise opportunity for all.
“The absence of this pre-definition beyond the removal concept gave us the collaborative space to nurture innovation from project outset right through to execution, and enabled us to find ways to deliver beyond expectations.
“As an industry, we must recognise that in the arena of decommissioning projects, the supply chain represents a game-changing force in the goal of reducing decommissioning costs, not only for operators but also for wider societal aims,” he says. “Our current decommissioning situation involves parallel operator decommissioning capability that follows on from a natural end to a period of activity, which could risk confining us to Groundhog Day outcome.
“The supply chain is the industry’s best opportunity for continuity through time; consistently capturing and serially applying lessons learned to relentlessly reduce the costs of decommissioning. This consistent ‘serialisation’ of lessons learned would, in turn, unlock value for operators through a progressive material improvement on cost certainty, whilst also building confidence that the commitment and activity required to successfully decommission an asset can be achieved without the time, cost and effort that is currently envisaged.
“By nurturing and extending the collaborative and innovative approach taken on Miller, I’m confident that an alliance between operators, regulators and the supply chain can carry this forward; balancing risk, uncertainty, control and trust with reward, possibility and improved efficiencies.”