13 June, 2012



13 June 2012 Aberdeeen Branch Evening Meeting

Chairman Brian Nixon, Chief Executive, Decom North Sea


Flyer PDF file


SUT+ and Pre-Talk

SUT+ Pre-Talks are targeted at developing professionals and newcomers to industry, with the aim of providing attendees with additional background subject knowledge to enhance the main SUT Presentations which follow. 

For the evening’s first SUT+ pre-talk on decommissioning, the presentation topics included:

  • Overview of current international and UKCS decommissioning requirements
  • General impact of decommissioning on operating assets
  • Current issues and concerns facing UKCS operators.

This evening’s pre-talk started at 17:15. There was a 15 minute break between the end of the pre-talk and the start of the main meeting.



Chairman Brian Nixon, Chief Executive, Decom North Sea

The North Sea oil & gas industry has a reputation for successfully extending the economic life of offshore production facilities.  However, there is now a growing recognition that the sector is facing a significant ramp up in decommissioning activity, leading to an expected market of over £1 billion per annum for the next thirty years.  Decom North Sea is leading the industry development in the decommissioning sector to support operator’s programmes and to assist companies to secure the associated business opportunities.  Brian Nixon provided a short overview of current activity.


Jim Niven, Stakeholder Manager (Brent Decommissioning Project), Shell

The Brent field was discovered in 1971 and production began in 1975. The Brent field has been in service for the UK for more than 35 years. Formerly Shell’s flagship asset in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), it is a household name in the North East of Scotland and much of the UK, as well as providing a benchmark for crude oil pricing around the world.

Brent Delta platform ceased production at the end of 2011 and engineering down of the platform is now underway in preparation for topsides removals in a few years time. The rest of the field (platforms Brent Alpha, Bravo and Charlie) continues to produce oil and gas although these platforms too will shortly reach their cessation of production.

Studies for the decommissioning of the Brent facilities commenced 2006 and the project is expected to take over a decade to execute.

In this evening’s talk, Jim described the scale and scope of the Brent decommissioning project as well as some of the complex challenges being addressed in preparation for the Decommissioning Programme.


Pieter voor de Poorte, Development Engineering & Projects Manager Shelley Decommissioning

An overview of the Shelley decommissioning project. A small subsea field (2 ESP production wells and manifold) tied back to the Voyageur, a  Sevan 300 FPSO. Gas to fuel and flare and oil export via shuttle tanker. The main focus being the decommissioning sequence and phasing of the work programme. A  CAPEX overview and demonstration of the re-use potential that may be feasible based on sufficient planning and focus for the recovered equipment.


Joe Quarini, Professor of Process Systems, Mechanical Engineering, University of Bristol – Ice Pigging: the pig that cleans the parts other pigs cannot reach!

The ice pig consists of a high ice fraction slurry with rheological properties which makes it ideal to use as a pig capable of cleaning the most complex topology, without any risk of it getting stuck. The technology is being rolled out throughout the world in the water supply industry, beginning to be used in the nuclear industry and being trialled in the food manufacturing sector. It requires no special launch or receiving station, is environmentally very friendly and can be easily made from sea water. The ice pig represents a paradigm shift in pigging technology. The presentation gave background information, how the ice pig is made, stored and deployed. It focused on the needs of the hydrocarbon recovery industry and identify its operation envelope; capable of pigging pipes of varying diameters (from 1mm to 300 plus mm) and varying lengths (up to 3.5km), of complex process equipment from valves to heat exchangers and of course removing loose deposits and oils from discarded complex topology ducts.