Dundee team examines impact of subsea structure removal

Offshore staff

ABERDEEN, UK – The University of Dundee in eastern Scotland is conducting research on recovery of subsea structures on behalf of Xodus, with support from the Oil & Gas Innovation Centre.

Xodus is undertaking the project to develop analysis methods and design guidance for the removal of subsea structures used in the oil and gas industry, and will examine the impact of decommissioning shallow foundations on clay seabeds.

The contractor, in partnership with the university’s School of Science and Engineering, will perform small-scale model tests of uplift operations in a controlled environment.

These will be used to determine a range of variables including the effect of on-bottom time and skirt configuration on the recovery loads for subsea structures.

Dr. Andrew Brennan, senior lecturer in civil engineering at the University of Dundee, said: “Civil engineering activity within the offshore oil and gas sector has seen a growth in the emphasis placed on decommissioning in recent years, but extracting foundations from the seabed poses major engineering challenges due to the number of variables on which recovery loads depend.

“By performing a series of small-scale model tests, we can understand better how each of these variables controls the process and hence improve the efficiency of foundation extraction in the future.”

Andy Small, principal geotechnical engineer with Xodus, said: “Decommissioning of subsea structures presents significant challenges for engineers. The potential for overall project cost increases due to unknowns is high, especially with regard to seabed uncertainty.

“This research will produce invaluable knowledge and understanding of the recovery process and associated risks and will likely result in significant cost savings and operational efficiencies for future decommissioning projects.”


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