North Sea Decommissioning: Norway’s New Oil Adventure?

Have you ever wondered where old oil platforms go to die?

Not being any oil industry insider myself, I’d not thought a whole lot about this question until putting together a presentation two months ago about how oil-producing Norway was handling its recent economic downturn.

Not being any math person myself, I was easily impressed by the enormous numbers I came across when the word ‘decommissioning’ popped up in my search. Like the following from Oil & Gas UK 2016 report. Over the next ten years:

  • 199,100 tons unleashed platforms are to be removed from Norwegian-owned parts of the North Sea and brought to land
  • 362 wells are to be plugged
  • 14 platforms are to be removed/1,745 tons of subsea equipment to be removed
  • 297 km piping are to be removed

And finally, not being any engineer myself, I wondered how in the world you go about taking apart one of these great, complex metal beasts? Where do you start?

But, being a communication type myself, I also wondered why I’d had to search so hard for the relatively little information about this topic.

Why isn’t more being written and – more importantly – published in the media about what average people like me would enjoy reading about?

What’s not to like about cleaning up our seas and oceans?

Why isn’t more being published about what is apparently a potentially new area of economic growth – including at the most basic level jobs for Norwegian workers  (engineers and non-engineers alike) who’ve lost their livelihood in the offshore services industry?

Perhaps ignorant – yet absolutely well-meaning  – questions from the keyboard of an oil industry outsider:

Could this be the country’s new oil frontier? Its new oil adventure?

Why are we not reading more about it?


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