NPD weighs up concrete offshore facilities removal options

Offshore staff

OSLO, Norway – The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has received a new report on disposal options for Norway’s concrete offshore facilities, some of which are approaching the end of their working lives. NPD commissioned the study from Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) and the Climate and Pollution Agency (Klif).

The convention for the protection of the marine environment of the North East Atlantic (OSPAR) stipulates joint provisions and recommendations for offshore petroleum activities. All disused offshore installations must theoretically be removed, according to OSPAR decision 98/3, although licensees of concrete facilities can apply for an exemption from the ban on disposal at sea.

Norway has little experience or data to draw on concerning removal and scrapping of concrete facilities. The assessment by NPD, PSA, and Klif is that, although some facilities have installed equipment that would allow them to re-float, it is unclear whether this can be achieved in a controlled manner.

An accident during preparation, re-floating, transport, or scrapping could lead to loss of life or environmental impact. Also, setting the concrete facilities ashore for scrapping and material recycling could result in discharges to sea, while onshore demolition would give rise to noise and dust.

Abandoning concrete facilities in-situ is an alternative option. It would have little impact on fish populations, NPD points out, although it might conflict with fishery interests due to the tied-up area. Lights and navigation equipment would have to be installed on abandoned facilities to limit the risk of collisions with vessels in the area.


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