Lifting spirits Sharing in decommissioning success
The maga z ine for the UK of f shore oi l and gas indus tr y
News | 5
Road to recovery | 14 Wireline examines the work of the Industry Recovery Group
Member News | 16
Removing barriers | 20 Despite the pandemic, 2020 has been a bumper year for decommissioning activity Water works | 28 RGS Nordic considers a basin-wide approach to water remediation Original sims | 32 With demand for remote training rising, new simulator technology is coming into its own Data in the details | 38 Wireline meets the authors of the Data & Digital Maturity Survey
Issue 49 | Autumn 2020
w ire lin e | A u t u m n 2 02 0 | 3
Welcome to Issue 49
W elcome to the 49th issue of Wireline , the magazine for the UK offshore oil and gas industry. very clear that this is a challenge that will be with us for some time, and that it will continue to affect the business fundamentals of the sector as well as day to day activity. However, with the right support mechanisms in place there is a path towards recovery. Central to these efforts is the OGUK-led Recovery Group, a group of senior leaders charged with shaping the recovery from the pandemic. The group’s focus is to identify and advocate measures to both stimulate demand and progress new low-carbon business opportunities, as part of the three-stage recovery framework laid out earlier this year. We look at the group’s work and their perspective in more detail inside this issue [p. 14]. There are however, some areas where progress should be commended. Inside this issue we speak with operators managing major decommissioning projects across the UKCS and chart the significant removals activity that has remainedon trackdespite thechallengesof COVID-19. Fromsingle-lift topsides removals tomulti-well-decommissioning campaigns, we hear how these activities have been managed safely and successfully [p. 20]. And as decommissioning activity grows across the North Sea over the next decade, we learn more about OGUK member RGS Nordic and its proposals for a basin-wide approach to managing produced water [p. 28]. With many in the workforce still working remotely for the medium-term, demand for new training and personal development programmes is also growing. Inside, we look at two new simulator solutions fromErisort RiskManagement and 3t Energy Group which aim to offer unparalleled realism and knowledge retention [p. 32]. Finally, we explore the findings of the industry’s first Data & Digital Maturity Survey, which considers if and how organisations have begun to understand the full potential of digitalisation. Wireline speaks with the report authors to get their thoughts [p. 38]. Our last issue looked at the offshore sector’s immediate response to the coronavirus pandemic, both operationally and within wider communities. As we move through autumn and into winter it’s now
We continue to wish everyone the best in difficult and challenging times, and our thanks for reading Wireline .
Design, Digital & Editorial Team OGUK
Wireline is published by OGUK, the voice of the UK oil and gas industry.
Contributors Bill Phillips Bryony Ormes Wireline Team Andrew Dykes Anthony Barter David Jeffree
Contact the editorial team on firstname.lastname@example.org
OGUK is not responsible for any loss, injury, damage or costs resulting from the use of products or services advertised or featured.
Cover image Courtesy of Chrysaor
Telephone: 020 7802 2400 www.oilandgasuk.co.uk
4 | w ire lin e | A u t u m n 2 02 0 ISSN 2053-5392 (Print), ISSN 2053-5406 (Online)
COVID-19 Testing Guidelines now available New COVID-19 Testing Guidelines have now been published and are available on the OGUK website. This document is a guideline for use by those organisations who have included screening testing amongst their COVID-19 prevention barriers (or are considering doing so) and aims to provide clear information, guidance and advice on testing protocols to ensure this is done in line with good practice. Unwrapping decommissioning in newvideo series In a bid to explore and expand industry awareness, OGUK has launched a new series of videos, titled Decommissioning Unwrapped. In the first of the series, OGUK's Decommissioning Manager Joe Leask takes a look at well decommissioning and what the UK's oil and gas industry is doing to reduce costs. This episode follows Joe to Nigg, where he meets Phil Milton, CEO of Well Safe Solutions, to look at what's being done to improve the well decommissioning process.
culture, the SME Forum will give participants access to OGUK’s existing business support guidance/initiatives and an opportunity to shape the agenda going forward. The forum will provide an opportunity to address major concerns including loss of skills in the sector, offering the chance for participants to collectively develop solutions to common challenges. Items on the agenda for the first forum included an update on Brexit and its impact on the industry, and input from OGUK’s external affairs team on political developments and their impact on the oil and gas supply chain.
NewSME Forum supports businesses under pressure Amid concern that a growing number of smaller companies may not survive the current downturn and the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, OGUK’s Continuous Improvement team launched its SME Forum in August.
Stay tuned for further updates in the series throughout the year.
Supporting the Efficiency Task Force’s aim to promote a positive and progressive
w ire lin e | A u t u m n 2 02 0 | 5
OGUK creates new integrated directoratewith Supply Chain focus OGUK continues to drive its supply chain agenda forward with the appointment of Katy Heidenreich, director responsible for leading its supply chain and operations activities. In addition to spearheadingOGUK’s Recovery Group’s work with industry, Government and regulators to stimulate investment in the basin, Katy will focus on supply chain activities while progressing initiatives aimed at increasing UKCS activity to sustain jobs across the sector’s beleaguered supply chain. In her new role, Katy will build on the significant progress achieved by Matt Abraham, who leaves the representative body to take up a leadership role in a major contractor company after two and a half years as OGUK’s supply chain and exports director. Katy’s extensive supply chain experience includes 27 years in the oil and gas industry working in technical and senior management roles in the UK, Norway and Azerbaijan. She joined OGUK in 2015 after 15 years with Schlumberger Oilfield services, latterly as Commercial Manager for UK, Holland and Denmark. Katy is also the author of ‘The Industry’s Best-Kept Secret’- a book designed to inspire and encourage more women to consider careers in the energy sector.
Above (L-R): BP Senior Vice President for the North Sea Emeka Emembolu; Neptune Energy UK Managing Director, Alexandra Thomas
Right: CHC Helicopter’s Regional Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Mark Abbey.
New report tracks progress on digitalisation Findings from the first survey of digitalisation in the oil and gas industry have been published in the UKCS Data and Digital Maturity Survey Report. With support from Deloitte, the survey was launched in June 2020 by OGUK, in partnership with the Technology Leadership Board (TLB), the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC), and Opportunity North East (ONE). Compiled with input from a cross section of more than 70 organisations and almost 40 individuals, full details of the report were shared at an OGUK webinar on 1 September. View the webinar event and read the full report on the OGUK website, or learn more inside this issue of Wireline (p. 38).
Trio of board appointments support industry recovery OGUK, has appointed three major business leaders to its board as the sector sharpens its focus on recovery. As UK Managing Director of gas-focused exploration and production company Neptune Energy, Alexandra Thomas represents one of the leading independents investing in the UK North Sea. With international expertise in exploration and development, Alexandra brings 18 years’ oil and gas experience to OGUK’s board. She started her career on assignments with Shell and Equinor later working in senior leadership roles in the UK, Netherlands, Norway and Ghana, where she was Tullow Oil’s Head of Exploration, Development and
6 | w ire lin e | A u t u m n 2 02 0
operator campaigns, which ultimately will help position the UK sector as a global leader in decommissioning.” You can view the Cost Estimate 2020 report via the OGA website. A recording of the report launch webinar is also available to view on the OGUK Vimeo channel. Workforce Insight report charts pandemic’s impact on offshore jobs The number of workers on offshore oil and gas installations decreased by around 4,000 as the UK went into lockdown in March this year, according to official figures gathered by OGUK. Average weekly personnel on board decreased from around 11,000 on the 8 March to just over 7,000 one month later, with drilling and engineering construction trades hardest hit. OGUK’s Workforce Insight report 2020 also explores the uptake of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by companies, particularly in the supply chain, as many positioned themselves to endure the triple whammy of low oil and gas prices and the operational impact of the coronavirus pandemic. While official figures on both on and offshore employment will not be available until next year, tentative signs are worrying and underline the need for governments, industry and regulators to work together to protect the jobs and skills that will be needed to meet UK energy needs now and as the country moves to a lower-carbon future. Reportauthor,OGUKworkforceengagement and skills manager Dr Alix Thom, added: “Our figures confirm the initial operational impact of the lockdown back in March this year, with the number of workers offshore decreasing considerably in the space of a month as companies reduced to minimum manning in a bid to control the spread.
Commercial before joining Neptune in 2020. An ardent promoter of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Alexandra champions for women in engineering and technical roles and mentors a number of men and women in their career development. BP’s Senior Vice President for the North Sea Emeka Emembolu has significant knowledge of the company, having joined the business in 1998. Since starting his career as a production engineer on bp’s ETAP development in the central North Sea, Emeka has worked in diverse technical and leadership roles in regions across the globe including the UK, Angola, Algeria, Egypt, Alaska and latterly Texas where he was Vice President, Reservoir Development for the Gulf of Mexico & Canada. Emeka is passionate about promoting STEM subjects and highlighting the potential for technology to deliver solutions to industry’s challenges. As Regional Director for CHC Helicopter’s European, Middle East and African business, Mark Abbey has a wealth of aerospace and aviation experience built up over 35 years in the industry. Mark’s career has encompassed senior management positions in Europe, the USA, India and China. Earlier in his career, Mark spent 16 years at BAE Systems in an executive role managing their aircraft systems and operational facilities for assets including the Hawk Jet Trainer.
OGA publishes Cost Estimate 2020 report
The total cost of UK offshore oil and gas decommissioning has fallen by a further 2% on a like-for-like basis in 2019 to £48 billion, according to the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA). With a shared objective of industry and government to reduce decommissioning costs by at least 35%, the latest annual UKCS Decommissioning Cost Estimate 2020 shows estimated decommissioning costs have, to date, reduced by 19% since the OGA began benchmarking in 2017 using a baseline estimate of £59.7 billion. OGUK decommissioning manager Joe Leask noted: “The OGA’s report on decommissioning cost trends for the UK industry shows the challenges we face. “While significant progress has been made over the years, new ways of working will be critical to ensure we stimulate activity in the supply chain, keep skills and infrastructure in the UK, and meet our savings target. OGUK continues to work with industry, government and regulators to understand how we can bring innovative ideas to life, such as multi-
w ire lin e | A u t u m n 2 02 0 | 7
potential developments, or re-developments of fields where production had ceased and the acreage had been relinquished. The OGA provided a suite of new data and analyses, prospect and discovery reports, well and seismic data to support this round. Additionally, the creation of the National Data Repository (NDR) in 2019 significantly improved data availability and access. Following recent successful annual licensing rounds, as previously announced, the OGA is taking a temporary pause fromannual licence round activity andwill not run a licence round in what would have been the 2020/21 period. This will allow relinquishments to take place so more coherent areas may be reoffered in future, giving industry time to deliver on work commitments in the existing portfolio of licences. Industry is encouraged to use the pause to acquire data and carry out studies in preparation for the next round. The OGA will engage with industry on the timing and nature of the next offshore licensing round. Speaking in response to the announced review, OGUK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie OBE called for a constructive and open discussion about how the UK will continue to meet its energy needs while delivering consumer affordability and jobs, optimising indigenous energy sources in a way that ensures the UK doesn’t offshore its emissions to other countries. Winter economic update At the end of September, the Chancellor of the Exchequer presented his Winter Economy Plan to Parliament. This replaced the much-anticipated Budget, which was deemed ill-timed given the volatile economic climate in light of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. Indeed, since then, the pandemic has continued to upturn long planned political and economic events.
Review was expected to lay out public spending priorities over the next three years, however, this has now been replaced with a one-year spending review which will take place on 25 November 2020. As a result of the new lockdown and the wider implications on the economy, the Furlough scheme will now remain open until December. Businesses will have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part-time basis or furlough them full-time, and will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions which, for the average claim, accounts for just 5% of total employment costs. The OGUK Business Outlook Report published earlier this year warned that up to 30,000 jobs could be lost in the sector as it faces a triple whammy of low oil and gas prices alongside the operational impact of the coronavirus pandemic. OGUK encourages governments to keep a focus on the prize of a green recovery, where the essential expertise of the oil and gas industry could mean fresh opportunities for the fragile supply chain. September 2020 marked the one-year anniversary of the launch of Roadmap 2035: A Blueprint for Net Zero. This blueprint highlights the role the sector can play to help the UK achieve the energy transition that is critical to a fully decarbonised economy. With support from sponsor Deloitte, OGUK marked the occasion with a webinar in which industry leaders could reflect on progress to date against the actions and commitments asset out in the Blueprint. Participants included OGUK CEO Deirdre Michie OBE, Aker Solutions’ Sian Lloyd Rees, Wood’s Dave Stewart, Steve Phimister of Shell UK, CDA’s Dan Brown, and the OGA’S Roadmap 2035: One Year On
“Numbers have risen steadily since then as industry has adopted a robust swiss cheese barrier model, with a range of preventative measures in place both prior to mobilisation and whilst offshore, which has helped secure more jobs and increase operations in the immediate term. “Despite this, we continue to see some very worrying signs for employment in the sector, with the uptake of furlough and continued suppression of global energy demand impacting our industry like many others in the wider economy. “As our report shows, the recruitment and retention of diverse and talented people will be essential as we work to support UK energy needs both now, and in a lower carbon context. A North Sea Transition Deal, supported by the UK and Scottish governments, can act as a catalyst for this future, and in so doing will provide certainty on the sustainability for the sector in difficult times.” 65 companies awarded areas in 32nd Licensing Round The OGA has offered 113 licence areas for award over 260 blocks or part-blocks to 65 companies in the 32nd Offshore Licensing Round. Announced on 3 September, the round offered blocks in mature, producing areas close to existing infrastructure, under the flexible terms of the Innovate Licence. This enables applicants to define a licence duration and phasing that will allow them to execute the optimal work programme. The majority of the licences will enter the Initial Term (Phase A or Phase B exploration stage), and 16 of the awards are for licences that will proceed straight to Second Term, either for Read the report on the OGUK website.
The Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending
8 | w ire lin e | A u t u m n 2 02 0
Speakers address the first session of the OGUK Legal Conference 2020. (L-R) OGUK legal manager Tracey Keith; OGUK sustainability director Mike Tholen; Shetland Islands Council chief executive Maggie Sandison; OGA head of technology Carlo Procaccini; bp managing counsel Chris Sawyer.
the legal and commercial community. This included a notable panel discussion featuring the OGA’s head of technology Carlo Procaccini, Shetland Islands Council chief executive Maggie Sandison and managing counsel for bp, Chris Sawyer. Theserieswasbroughttoaclosebyesteemed high court judge Right Honourable Mr Justice Fraser, who offered his perspectives on a range of issues including technology and the courts in the time of COVID-19. OGUKwelcomes skills and supply chain evolution OGUK welcomed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s wind power plan, unveiled in early October, as a positive shot to the arm for its struggling supply chain. The plan will include £160 million of funding made available to upgrade ports and infrastructure in critical energy communities including Teesside and Humber, Scotland and Wales. Speaking in response to the proposals, OGUK said developing skills and supply chain capabilities will be critical if the UK is to reach its climate ambitions. In early 2020, around 75% of OGUK member companies reported at least some of their revenue is generated from non-oil and gas related work, with 30% noting that more than 25% comes from diversified activity. Electricity demand currently accounts for 17% of total energy demand, meaning the decarbonisation of transport, industrial needs and heating remains critical if the UK is to meet its climate change targets. OGUK has reinforced the importance of the North Sea Transition Deal to deliver the low-carbon solutions needed to drive a true green industrial revolution. You can view the sessions via the OGUK Webinars page.
Osokey, which was awarded the contract following a competitive tender process will now start developing new services to go live in 2021. The service, currently managed by Common Data Access, will continue to host a range of essential information including wellbores, geophysical surveys and petroleum infrastructure but will make inputting and accessing information easier for users. The new cloud-based approach will enable the OGA, for the first time, to host all reported information, including considerable volumes of legacy unprocessed seismic data, in its own systems. As well as establishing an enduring archive, the new service will make data more accessible and easier to navigate for users. OGUK Legal Conference 2020 Over 900 delegates attended the revamped OGUK Legal Conference 2020 in late September, sponsored by Clyde & Co LLP and CMS. Held virtually for the first time, the event spanned five sessions across four days and considered pressing issues facing the sector. Sessions explored legal perspectives on the energy transition, anti-bribery and corruption measures, and hot topics for
Stuart Payne. Each spoke in detail about the individual themes relevant to their areas of work, before the forum was opened to an interesting panel session with questions from the audience. The session sawmuch focus on the industry’s role in the future energy mix, especially with regards to the opportunities that net-zero presents, paired with discussion on how to balance that long-term vision with the short- term needs of industry, especially as we look to a recovery from the impact of coronavirus and continue to deliver MER UK. In addition, much work is being done to progress the roadmap across a variety of areas and initiatives. We have launched new updates to the Roadmap 2035 website (www. roadmap2035.co.uk), which now provides links to case studies which demonstrate the industry action on these commitments. Keep an eye on the site for further updates, and to contribute case studies from your organisation. OGA appoints NDR developer The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has appointed Osokey Ltd. as collaborative partner in developing the National Data Repository (NDR) platform, as a critical element of the OGA Digital Energy Platform.
w ire lin e | A u t u m n 2 02 0 | 9
Celebrating the brightest and best individuals and companies in our industry!
Thursday 7pm 10 DECEMBER 2020 Join us virtually to mark the achievements and success within our sector OGUKawards.co.uk
1 0 | w ire lin e | S u mm e r 2 02 0
Attend our Industry-leading digital events
Follow us on social media and subscribe to our events email updates for more information BOOK ONLINE TODAY AT oilandgasuk.co.uk/events
In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic OGUK is reviewing the events programme for the remainder of 2020 and re-imagining a number of the event formats along with potential sponsorship opportunities.
* The vast majority of our OGUK online events are now FREE to join — all are welcome
We look forward to announcing these details in due course.
Download (iOS / Android)
Specialist aviation expertise for the oil and gas sector... S ci list aviation expertise for t as sector…
Mobile App The OGUK Mobile app seamlessy connects you with our publications and rich, curated content tailored for the oil and gas industry
A book to inspire more girls to join the Oil & Gas industry
the oil industry’s BEST KEPT SECRET A book full of inspiration and advice
A new society inspiring lifelong learning, advanced knowledge, and career development for Petroleum Data Managers
Katy Heidenreich with support fromOonaghWerngrenMBE
• Community and Networking • Conferences and Events • Professional Development and Recognition
"I hope that by reading this book you will be inspired by the stories and will consider the oil & gas industry for your career path." Katy Heidenreich
Be part of a vibrant community and shape the future of our profession Register your interest with us today post@SocietyPDM.com linkedin.com/company/SocietyPDM www.SocietyPDM.com
As the UK energy industry aligns to deliver net-zero emissions by 2050, OGUK is looking to share success stories. Calling all case studies
A re you doing something innovative in your organisation to improve safety, build a diverse and inclusive workforce, or deliver net zero? We invite you to submit and share case studies that demonstrate the great work you’re doing and the impact it’s having. Case studies can cover any topic where clear outcomes can be demonstrated, or they may focus
on one of the five themes of our industry blueprint, Roadmap 2035. The Roadmap sets clear goals for our industry and the activities required to support these goals. We welcome you to get in touch to showcase how your work helps us achieve these five themes. We are here to help articulate your story, so we don’t expect a fully formed case study at this stage – a press release or an internal blog is a good start.
Transocean’s first minimises waste The industry is committed to embracing solutions which enhance reliability while simultaneously reducing its fuel consumption, operating costs and environmental footprint. In response, Transocean successfully deployed the world’s first hybrid energy storage system aboard a floating drilling unit in October 2019.
Already used on the Transocean Spitsbergen at the Snorre field in Norway, the system was developed in partnership with Aspin Kemp and Associates to capture energy generated by everyday rig operations. This energy, rather than going to waste, is stored in batteries and used to power the dynamically- positioned rig’s thrusters. It therefore helps not only to reduce the unit’s environmental footprint but also to support safe and reliable station-keeping capabilities. The project has been funded in part through fuel-saving incentives in Transocean’s contract with operator Equinor and by the Norwegian NOx Fund. This technological advance targets a 14% reduction in fuel consumption during normal operations, leading to significantly lower emissions of NO x and CO 2 . The power upgrade also underlines a shared commitment by Transocean and Equinor to work together to implement sustainable technology. Find out more at www.deepwater.com. Transocean Spitsbergen
If you have a story demonstrating a success in key sector areas such as efficiency, diversity and inclusion, energy transition or skills development, please get in touch. You can e-mail us your case studies and ideas to email@example.com and we will work with you to develop them into shareable formats.
w ire lin e | A u t u m n 2 02 0 | 1 3
Road to Recovery: a not-so distant future
The Recovery Group's first webinar offered more depth on how far the industry has come and how far it has left to go amid a time of economic downturn for all.
A s the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry continues to grapple with some the hardest challenges faced in recent decades, sector leaders recently reflected on the turmoil COVID-19 has brought, but more importantly the resilience and determination the sector has built to overcome it . Assembled by OGUK in May, the Industry Recovery Group is a group of senior leaders charged with shaping the sector’s recovery from the pandemic, with a focus on measures that will help stimulate demand and progress new low-carbon business opportunities. The work of the group is a core strand in OGUK’s three-stage recovery framework, which covers immediate support for businesses, stimulating a recovery and accelerating the net-zero transition. Now in its sixth month of activity, the group has developed a series of projects that provide a blueprint for self-help, whilst working with governments and regulators to stimulate activity for a supply chain under immense pressure. Last month saw the first ever Road to Recovery webinar, titled Oil and Gas Industry Action , hosted by OGUK’s Operations Director Katy Heidenreich. Attendees welcomed in-depth presentations from board members appointed to the Group, who answered some of the biggest questions for the sector today, whilst highlighting the importance of the industry’s ability to maintain a healthy and growing competitiveness. Katy said: “We continue to work on boosting competitiveness and preserving our sector-leading regulatory policy framework. Working with industry, the MER UK taskforces and the OGA, it’s important that the revised MER strategy provides a regulatory regime industry can thrive in; protecting a competitive, predictable, fiscal regime and driving technology and innovation investment.” The challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and the downturn in oil prices, coming only as the sector was beginning to emerge from one of the most prolonged downturns in its history, have given industry an even stronger drive to find a path to recovery. “There is hope, we can recover, and we have a plan. But we don’t want handouts. It’s clear that the stability that is key for planning ahead and success of this industry will make
the difference between whether we can drive net-zero at home; building new jobs and industries,” Katy added.
Transitioning forward together It is clear the coming months will be pivotal in defining the future of the sector. Increasingly policymakers are turning to green recovery solutions; a movement which should only be seen as promising for the economic future of oil and gas and its workforce . “In terms of the accelerate phase and maximising the energy potential, Roadmap 2035 offers a blueprint for net-zero and aims to enable a safe, sustainable and competitive oil and gas industry. “The North Sea transition deal is part of an array of ways in which we will forge this positivefuture. It is about securing a long-term future for this industry, but we need to act now to preserve the skill and supply chain that will be essential to this industry playing its role in the transition to a net- zero economy,” Katy adds. The promising future put forward by the group recognises the real time challenges faced by an industry, with OGUK warning earlier this year that up to 30,000 jobs could be lost if no action was taken. In terms of recovering activity, the group continues to look at unlocking planned work programmes, promoting collaboration and knowledge transfer as well as encouraging uptake of good practice. It is confident that through the new SME forum, commercial codes of practice, supply chain principles and the various tools and other guidance developed by a cross-section of OGUK and MER taskforce workgroups, this will be more than achievable. The team are also developing recovery levers, such as further regulatory support, and the OGA are continuously working in conjunction with the industry to maintain investment, maximise recovery and uphold a strong sector. Withnew ‘GreenRevolution’ announcements following the Conservative conference in October, the industry is becoming more defined by its ability to adapt. It is clear that an economic recovery and the energy transition will go together hand in hand, an opportunity which companies are looking to embrace. Spirit Energy HSE director Neil McCulloch spoke in depth about the need for a strong response: “I’ll be the first to say the energy transition is not a choice, it’s a necessity… but in the same breath I will also be the
1 4 | w ire lin e | A u t u m n 2 02 0
Industry Recovery Group members hosted their first webinar in September to discuss the role of the group and what the path to a recovery looks like.
“We’ve actively been identifying stimulus options, working with industry and the government,” adds Scott. “The OGA has been continuously re-prioritising. We de- prioritised stewardship reviews to enable operators to focus on the COVIDmobilisation issues they were facing. We created a temporary, flexible, pragmatic approach to licensing because we recognised, due to mobilisation issues and a dramatic change in prices, some licensees may need longer to execute their work programmes. “We’ve also been highly active in the central North Sea in creating critical mass and trying to catalyse activity around electrisation of some of the oil and gas hubs in that area. We’ve been actively supporting the carbon capture and storage licensees to ensure good progress on their pilot projects, and where new companies have approached this in CCUS, we’ve been pointing them to industrial clusters and advising on opportunities to use oil and gas infrastructure.” The team recognise the road to recovery will not be easy, but the skills and know-how inherent in the industry can help set it back on its own two feet. In the face of this perfect storm, one thing is clear; the key is to remain collaborative, energy conscious and competitive to ensure this sector recaptures its prosperity and is aligned on a journey of transition. Summarising the discussion, Katy said: “Conditions remain tough but we should be proud of our work, of the world-class response we had to the pandemic and how we’re continuing to work hard to keep the lights on.”
first to say that no one has a more important role to play in that energy transition than our industry.” “We should not just be a part of it; we should be a driving force within it. We may not share land or sea with the countries which export to us, but we do share the same sky and we share the responsibility for the emissions that go into producing energy for this country.” LNG imports tripled between 2018 and 2019, coming predominantly from Qatar, the USA and Russia, but Neil believes looking to the rest of the world to meet our energy needs does not solve the emissions equation. “It just means someone else needs to answer it- and the question is whether they can answer it as well as we can. Do these countries have anything that matches Roadmap 2035, or indeed the mature outline of transition sector deal? And so, if we are to drive the energy transition, the question really is how?” he asked. “The crucial thing for me is that the industry really needs to be in a healthy position before we can play our part in delivering that transition.” Surviving the storm OGA Director of Operations, Scott Robertson, believes the industry is better positioned than ever to brave the headwinds. He commented: “We have a globally competitive fiscal regime and we saw the right assets in the right hands, with new entrants… investing in our assets and building the resilience for the challenges that we’ve faced so far. The basin is more collaborative than ever.”
w ire lin e | A u t u m n 2 02 0 | 1 5
For Wood’s part, it brought together a multi-disciplinary team from across its business including environmental planning, geographical mapping, visualization, process and pipeline engineering, renewables and hydrogen power experts to deliver a solution. As part of the scope of work, the team secured planning consent, completed the technical feasibility study and provided preliminary engineering design for the candidate site. Joe Sczurko, CEO of Wood’s Technical Consulting Solutions business, commented: “Wood’s track record in the technology, production, and the use of hydrogen is decades-long with a number of successful hydrogen projects delivered for clients around the world. Combined with our renewable and infrastructure expertise, we were well-positioned to support SGN with its ambitious H100 project at Machrihanish.” Wood worked on the project in collaboration with the Machrihanish Airbase Community Company Business Park and Airport, which was considered, as one of three possible sites, to host the hydrogen production, storage, and distribution infrastructure. While H100 Fife is proposed as the site for the first hydrogen network, SGN also sees significant potential for 100% hydrogen networks in Machrihanish and Aberdeen at a later date.
Wood completes work on SGN green hydrogen- to-homes project group Wood successfully delivered preliminary engineering design services for gas network operator SGN’s candidate site at Machrihanish, on the west coast of Scotland, as part of its Hydrogen 100 (H100) project. The H100 demonstration project will initially aim to supply energy to homes in Fife, Scotland. On completion, this project will be the first of its kind to employ a direct supply of offshore wind renewable power to produce green hydrogen energy, heating up to 300 homes in the first instance. SGN manages the network distributing natural gas to 5.9 million homes and businesses across Scotland and parts of southern England. As part of its efforts to decarbonise the energy system and reduce emissions, the company is investigating the role that hydrogen can play, with the H100 project forming a key component. Engineering and consulting
TÜV SÜD joins Europe- wide research programme for hydrogen vehicles As part of the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR), TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory is developing standards for accurate flow metering and pricing at hydrogen refuelling stations. The Metrology for Hydrogen Vehicles 2 project is part of the world’s first large-scale research project to tackle hydrogen fuel measurement inaccuracy challenges. To expand the use of hydrogen vehicles across Europe, it is essential that the gap between legislation and technology is closed. Extensive new infrastructure is required, where end-users are assured of accurate flow metering and fair charging at refuelling stations. However, there are at present no European-wide measurement methods and standards. During the three-year programme, TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory’s research will help manufacturers and operators to improve the accuracy of hydrogen refuelling stations. It will develop new hydrogen measurement standards for both light (cars and vans) and heavy duty (buses and trucks) vehicles.
Below: Dräger Marine and Offshore UK Business Unit Leader, David Donaldson
TÜV SÜD NEL technical lead for clean fuels, Marc MacDonald commented: “Accurate validation of the metrology in hydrogen vehicle refuelling is vital to meet both regulatory requirements and enhance end-user perception. This project will give hydrogen vehicle owners the confidence that they are not being overcharged when they refuel and help the industry to expand.” The Metrology for Hydrogen Vehicles 2 follow-on project will investigate more cost- effective methods of providing accurate reference measurements and prove that these concepts can be applied to refuelling of buses and trucks, and extended to train and tram refuelling in the future. Dräger secures largest wireless gas detection order Dräger Marine and Offshore UK has secured a €1 million order for wireless gas detection installation at an onshore UK terminal. This will be the single largest Dräger installation in the UK and one of its largest wireless gas detection installations globally, representing a significant step forward in the adoption of wireless technology within the UK energy industry. Work will commence on the project, that includes the installation of over 120 wireless gas detectors, in September. In a highly time-sensitive project such as this, wireless technology is an ideal solution due to its fast deployment time and low installation costs, whilst still providing the ability to precisely locate the detectors where the risk was deemed highest without having to consider existing brownfield infrastructure as part of the installation philosophy.
Well-Safe acquires jack-up to bolster decom fleet September 2020 saw Well-Safe Solutions announce the acquisition of the West Epsilon jack-up rig from Seadrill, sparking the creation of around 100 new jobs for the company. Built in 1993, the asset is a heavy-duty, harsh environment jack-up with an extensive and enviable operational history in the North Sea. It follows the company’s acquisition of the Well-Safe Guardian in April 2019 and adds to the company’s growing portfolio of bespoke decommissioning assets. Well-Safe will start work immediately on the newly renamed ‘Well-Safe Protector’ to undertake an upgrade and modification programme, ready to deploy the unit specifically for enhanced well decommissioning projects in early 2021.
CEO Phil Milton said: “The acquisition of this asset allows us to continue to deliver our vision and the business model that we set out to deliver to the industry, giving us the ability to cover both subsea wells and multiple platform projects. We have remained focussed and committed to our strategy and are delighted to have reached this agreement with Seadrill.” Operations on the upgrade and SPS renewal of the company’s first rig, the Well-Safe Guardian, were paused earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with operations now restarting and the addition of the ‘Well-Safe Protector’, the company is poised to be the first in the UK to provide a full, Tier 1, P&A specialist service from both a bespoke decommissioning semi-submersible and jack-up drilling rig. The acquisition – for an undisclosed sum – will see Well-Safe’s staffing levels rise both onshore and offshore ¬as the company continues preparations to deploy both the Well-Safe Guardian and the Well-Safe Protector in early 2021.
w ire lin e | A u t u m n 2 02 0 | 1 7
Proserv and Synaptec to develop cable
Xodus Group advises Dutch government on CCUS project
The combination of these optical sensing capabilities and Proserv’s controls technology will allow the retrofit of control systems, enabling faults and failures to be identified pre-emptively, through a non- intrusive approach. The clear value for the end user lies in the saving of installation costs and in providing the capability to mitigate the occurrence of faults. The partners will also evaluate how best to incorporate Synaptec’s unique passive DES into Proserv’s cutting-edge subsea control systems in order to monitor the performance of critical infrastructure. Synaptec managing director Philip Orr commented: “Cable failures continue to be a significant challenge for the offshore wind sector. Through this new partnership we are bringing to market a solution which will support the growth and progress of the energy transition and positively impact the operations and maintenance costs for offshore wind operators. It’s an important milestone and demonstrates both Synaptec’s and Proserv’s commitment to a stable energy future at a time when the energy sector is undergoing the biggest transformation we’ll see in our lifetimes.” The news follows Proserv’s unveiling of two new cutting-edge facilities in Mussafah, Abu Dhabi and Cumbernauld, near Glasgow, Scotland, in September 2020.
Energy consultancy Xodus Group has delivered a review into tariffs for a landmark Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) project in the Netherlands. The review for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy analysed proposed fees for the transport and storage requirements of the Porthos project, a joint venture between the Port of Rotterdam Authority, Gasunie and EBN,which seeks to transport CO2 from industry in the Port of Rotterdam to empty gas fields beneath the North Sea. The CO2 transported and stored by Porthos will be captured from a variety of companies, with Shell, ExxonMobil, Air Liquide and Air Products already signing joint development agreements. They will supply their CO2 to a collective pipeline running through the Rotterdam port area before being pressurised in a compressor station. Using a top-down benchmarking analysis and recreating Porthos’ design in its cost estimating software, the two approaches yielded similar transport and storage ‘best estimates’, of around 50 euros per tonne - encouragingly close to the figures calculated by Porthos. The CO2 will be transported through an offshore pipeline to a platform in the North Sea, approximately 20km off the coast where it will be pumped into an empty gas field. It is expected that in its early years, the project will be able to store approximately 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year with plans to be operational by 2024. Xodus global head of advisory and energy transition, Jonathan Fuller, commented: “CCUS is expected to play a vital role in
Controls technology company Proserv Controls has penned a strategic alliance with power system monitoring leader Synaptec to develop a cutting-edge integrated holistic cable monitoring system, which will reduce downtime, improve safety and lower operating costs at offshore wind farms. The partnership will help propel the two groups in several energy markets, including offshore wind and upstream oil and gas, via the co-development of multiple innovative products and services. Notably, Proserv will incorporate Synaptec’s unique passive distributed electro-mechanical sensing (DES) technology within the monitoring solution. Synaptec was founded in Glasgow in 2014 and provides distributed sensor networks to improve visibility and control of power systems across the offshore wind, transmission and distribution industries. Its advanced technologies use optical fibres and are completely passive: a global first for the power sector.
1 8 | w ire lin e | A u t u m n 2 02 0
Image courtesy of Blue Ocean Monitoring
decarbonisation strategies with Shell estimating that in the EU, at least 24 million tonnes per annum of CCUS facilities are needed to be installed between 2025 and 2050, at a rate of two per month. The current pipeline falls well short of this goal. A key barrier is the lack of established business models to allow adoption of the technology at scale. Xodus is developing a roadmap for CCUS commercialisation by addressing the policy, business model structures and interactions required between public and private vehicles to achieve success.” Neptune Energy commences subsea construction on Seagull project Neptune Energy and its joint venture partners BP and JAPEX have begun the subsea construction phase of the Seagull tie- back project. TechnipFMC, working under the Neptune Energy Alliance Agreement, deployed the Apache II pipelay vessel in late September to start the pipe-in-pipe installation, laying approximately 5km of pipe connecting the Egret manifold to the Seagull development. TechnipFMC’s Normand Mermaid was also mobilised in late August to provide pre-lay activities, including surveying and boulder removal. Following the pipe installation, its Normand Ranger will undertake trenching activities for the development. Seagull is a high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) development located in the Central North Sea on UK licence P1622 Block 22/29C, 17km south of the BP-operated ETAP Central Processing Facility (CPF). Proved plus probable gross reserves are estimated at 50 million boe.
using existing subsea infrastructure. Gas from the development will come onshore at the CATS processing terminal at Teesside, while oil will come onshore through the Forties Pipeline System to the Kinneil Terminal, Grangemouth. Neptune Energy’s UK Managing Director, Alexandra Thomas, noted: “This is a key milestone for Seagull – the first step in offshore execution of the project. We continue to work with our contractors and suppliers, focussing on the safe deployment of people, vessels, and equipment and managing the challenges associated with the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” Subsea commercialisation tool wins Strathclyde backing Strathclyde University has endorsed a methodology developed by the National Subsea Research Institute (NSRI) to accelerate the commercialisation of technology in support of the green recovery. NSRI, which works with underwater technology companies and academia to collaborate on bringing forward new technology, has developed a way of measuring commercial viability of a technical innovation to help fast-track getting it to market.
The tool, called CHASMAI, provides a clear indication of the potential commercial viability of early stage technology in the subsea industry that enables both innovators and investors. By measuring the viability of a technical concept through analysis of various factors including market conditions and funding requirements, CHASMAI take a systematic approach and helps identify exactly where pioneering companies should be focusing their efforts. NSRI believes it will be particularly attractive to investors, helping to speed up the investment process which will, in turn, accelerate the introduction of new technical concepts which could support the green recovery. Professor Matthew Revie, Associate Dean (Knowledge Exchange), at the Department of Management Science at Strathclyde Business, added: “Companies regularly come to us with strong engineering- based innovations, however establishing robust commercial viability is often not considered by businesses early enough in the idea generation process. The modelling framework developed by NSRI provokes companies to reflect not only on the “can we” of technology development, but also on the “should we” - will this technology development lead to a well-defined commercial solution?” “With meaningful outputs in dashboard format, NSRI’s commercialisation tool visualises uncertainties and shows exactly where efforts should be focused to drive maximum business value and return on investment.”
The development will be tied back to the ETAP Central Processing Facility, partially
w ire lin e | A u t u m n 2 02 0 | 1 9
Shell U.K.'s Brent Alpha topsides arrive in ABLE UK's Hartlepool yard for dismantling.