Economic Report 2018


In practice OPRED exercises its regulatory authority using its own Guidance Notes 17 , which describe how it will apply the provisions of the Petroleum and Energy Acts. This Guidance also describes how the requirements of OSPAR Decision 98/3 are used to determine the fate of fixed steel and concrete structures. Decision 98/3 is the regulation under which all but the largest and oldest fixed structures are required to be removed to shore for re-use, recycling or disposal during decommissioning. The BEIS Guidance Notes have recently been reviewed to incorporate current practice and provide clarifications to the 2013 revision. Following the 2018 revision, OPRED is planning a regular review cycle to ensure that learnings from on-going decommissioning activities can be embodied in its Guidance. Similarly, ahead of the five-yearly OSPAR review of Decision 98/3 in 2018, OPRED shared its experience of applying the Decision with the OSPAR Offshore Industries Committee (OIC). 18 This experience in applying the 10,000-tonne criteria for identifying candidate structures for derogation under Decision 98/3 led to further clarification on its application. 19 The OIC agreed that when applying these criteria, the in-place weight of the structure, rather than the lift weight at installation should be considered. The committee agreed with OPRED that it is the weight of the structure in situ, including piles and grout, which determines the technical difficulty of the removal and should be used to determine if derogation is appropriate. As the industry has moved into a period of increased decommissioning activity, OPRED has been working with industry to effectively test the regulations in practice. Based on its experience, OPRED is taking a pragmatic approach in developing the regulations to ensure that they are fit for purpose. In addressing costs, the OGA is working closely with industry, including Oil & Gas UK, to ensure that information is available to all practitioners and that successful cost reduction measures are shared. In 2018 the OGA launched its Decommissioning Lessons Learned On-line Tool 20 , a vehicle for sharing good practice across the whole decommissioning scope.

Collectively, the regulators of decommissioning are working with industry partners to ensure the best outcome for licence holders and the UK taxpayers.

17 18 OSPAR’s Offshore Industries Committee is the body responsible for reviewing Decision 98/3 every five years 19 OSPAR decision 98/3 prohibits the dumping, and leaving wholly or partly in place, of disused offshore installations. Companies can apply to leave infrastructure in place (derogation) in the case of steel installations weighing more than ten thousand tonnes in air, gravity based concrete installations; Floating concrete installations; Any concrete anchor- base which results, or is likely to result, in interference with other legitimate uses of the sea. 20


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