Decommissioning and Repurposing Taskforce
The Decommissioning and Repurposing Taskforce’s (DaRT) objective is to support industry to reduce the cost of decommissioning and assist the Government with meeting its net zero target, by providing strategic direction, oversight and delivery of key projects.
Taskforce Member Organisations
Co-Chairs are currently Neil McCulloch (Spirit Energy) and Pauline Innes (OGA)
The 2021 focus areas for the DaRT include responding to the actions laid out in the Government Response to the Call for Evidence into Strengthening the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry decommissioning published in December 2020 (the Response), following the Call for Evidence issued in . Additional focus areas are liability in perpetuity and repurposing in support of net zero.
Visibility of Decommissioning Work
Action one of the Response states: “As part of the Decommissioning Task Force, regulators and sector trade associations to develop mechanisms to increase transparency of the pipeline for new decommissioning projects on the UKCS.”
Work led by OGA
Work completed to date
- UKCS suspended well dataset published November 2020.
- Energy Pathfinder launched May 2021 – The new system provides improvement to interface and functionality, and includes an enlarged section on decommissioning, information on tenders, contracts awarded and collaboration opportunities.
- Planning is currently ongoing to review the OGA’s data sources and assess what additional decommissioning information can be published.
Benchmarking in Decommissioning
Action two of the Response states: “As part of the Decommissioning Task Force, regulators and industry to develop mechanisms to share KPIs and benchmarking data across the sector to ensure best practices are embedded within decommissioning businesses with the objective of increasing efficiency and reducing costs.”
Work led by OGUK and OGA
Work Completed to Date:
- UKCS Decommissioning Benchmarking Report 2020 – published September 2020 with the number of metrics increasing from 7 to 14 from the 2019 report. Additional benchmarks will continue to be added as data quality improves with the report being updated annually.
- OGUK Decommissioning Insight 2020 – Provides high level figures for expected well decommissioning and removals performance
- Industry Engagement is currently ongoing by OGUK to test sentiment of operators and supply chain towards current benchmarking practices in Decommissioning.
- The 2021 focus of the DaRT workgroup is to provide industry with more granular benchmarks which will be published in the an improved OGA Decommissioning Benchmarking Report. The target is to provide an authoritative source of benchmarking information, so industry is better equipped to recognise and deliver cost improvements in Decommissioning.
Liability in Perpetuity
The Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) is responsible for regulating decommissioning activity, including ensuring that the requirements of Part IV of the Petroleum Act 1998 are complied with. Government policy for decommissioning infrastructure is set out in OPRED Guidance Notes: Decommissioning of Offshore Oil and Gas Installations and Pipelines . Paragraph 17.1 of the Guidance states: 'the persons/parties who own an installation or pipeline, or are a section 29 holder, at the time of its decommissioning will remain the owners of any residues and remains after decommissioning. In addition, those with a duty to ensure the decommissioning programme is carried out will remain responsible for complying with any conditions attached to the Secretary of State's approval of the decommissioning programme.'
The North Sea Transition Forum response to the 2019 Call for Evidence into decommissioning identified stakeholder interest in reviewing the impact of “liability in perpetuity” on the UK decommissioning market to assess whether it is a barrier to innovation, or otherwise restrains the market from developing efficient commercial decommissioning offerings.
While the Government has not requested further action on this topic, improving the understanding of which parties are subject to “Liability in Perpetuity” remains a priority for industry and it is an area of focus for DaRT.
Work led by bp, University of Aberdeen and OPRED
- The workgroup is currently undertaking case studies that outlines how the current legislation works with regards to monitoring and remediation after a close out report has been submitted. Initial deliverables of project expected in Q2, website update will be provided at the end of next quarter.
 OPRED (2018), Guidance Notes: Decommissioning of Offshore Oil and Gas Installations and Pipelines
Repurposing in support of Net Zero
The Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and the OGA Strategy place high priority on progressing potential energy integration and net zero solutions. DaRT aims to facilitate the repurposing, where appropriate, of existing oil and gas infrastructure in support of net zero. The objective of the project is to remove ambiguity around repurposing and provide industry with a regulatory pathway/guidance for repurposing projects.
Work led by OGA; additional support provided by DaRT members.
- Work ongoing to allow piloting of repurposing vs decommissioning screening process in late-Q2 2021
- Analysis/consultation ongoing to understand barriers/disincentives to infrastructure repurposing
Action of the Response states: “The Decommissioning Task Force, Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) and National Decommissioning Centre (NDC) to develop a plan with regulators and industry to encourage the trialling adoption and development of new technology and data solutions for decommissioning projects on the UKCS, especially where there is scope for cost reduction.”
Work led by OGTC
- OGTC are currently working to bring visibility of Decommissioning Technologies to the market. A copy of the current lists of projects is available for download here
The project reviewed opportunities to stimulate decommissioning activity in 2021/early 2022, identifying the risks arising from a prolonged period of reduced activity. The work recognised the challenging operating environment and highlighted scope to improve market efficiency not least by improving the visibility of future work. DaRT is engaging with stakeholders including the Supply Chain and Exports Taskforce and OGUK to establish a steady and sustainable decommissioning market in the UK for operators and the supply chain.
Terms of Reference
- To fill the gap, focussing on things that would otherwise not be delivered by industry.
- Provide leadership and support for the development and deployment of the Decommissioning Strategy.
- Cost Reduction: Support the delivery of reduced decommissioning costs (from 2017 base).
- Supply Chain development: Support growth of competitive decommissioning market and supply chain, to maximise UK benefits including export potential.
- Assist the government with meeting its net zero target through supporting integration of net zero in late-life, repurposing and decommissioning
- Policy & stakeholders management: Influence policies, legislation and related guidance, and increase stakeholder alignment.
- Skills Development: Work with OPITO to support development of decommissioning skills by providing opportunities for wider industry members to get involved with Task Force workstreams.
- The Decommissioning and Repurposing Taskforce will be co-chaired by industry and the OGA.
- Members will include the representatives from operators, contractors, the OGA, OGUK, Decom North Sea, OPRED, HSE and OGTC.
- New additional members to the taskforce must be agreed by the majority of taskforce members.
- The industry (operators and contractor) representatives and the industry chair will hold their post for a maximum period of two years unless extended with agreement from taskforce members.
How we will work
- When participating in task group duties members will represent the UK oil and gas industry as a whole and not their individual companies.
- The Decommissioning and Repurposing Taskforce will create and disband subgroups where appropriate.
- Taskforce members will highlight any perceived or real conflicts of interest to the chair or secretariat.
- The Decommissioning and Repurposing Taskforce meetings will be held at least once every two months.
- Attendance is strongly encouraged. Members may nominate a suitable replacement to attend a meeting only if they are unable to attend.
- The OGA will provide secretariat support.
- Decommissioning and Repurposing Taskforce members should submit any pre-read materials 5 working days prior to meetings to enable the secretariat to issue these to the group a minimum of 3 workings days prior to the meetings.