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Engineering and legal considerations for decommissioning of offshore oil and gas infrastructure in Australia

Engineering and legal considerations for decommissioning of offshore oil and gas infrastructure in Australia
Engineering and legal considerations for decommissioning of offshore oil and gas infrastructure in Australia

Offshore oil and gas platforms, pipelines and other ancillary offshore infrastructure are aging in Australia and current regulatory frameworks favour complete removal at the end of life. However, evidence indicates that artificial reefs have formed around some of these structures and their removal could cause more harm than good. Furthermore, other perceived social, environmental and economic benefits of a total removal policy may not be warranted. The Australian regulator (NOPSEMA) is currently exploring the possibility of supporting an in situ decommissioning policy, in which alternatives to full removal such as leaving in situ, partial removal or nearby relocation may be adopted if demonstrated to be the preferable approach. This will necessarily involve changes to law and policy but such amendments must be evidence-based. The evidence needed will largely involve the disciplines of engineering and natural sciences, but also fields such as environmental management, economics, social sciences and law. If Australia were to progress an in situ decommissioning policy shift, research will be needed across all of these areas in the specific national context. This paper commences by outlining emergent engineering knowledge, showing the general conservatism of current methodologies available to assess the integrity of decommissioned offshore facilities. Thereafter, the particular legal environment in Australia is explored. This article contributes to the growing body of literature on in situ decommissioning but in setting a multi-disciplinary research agenda takes a more holistic approach.

Decommissioning, Multi-disciplinarity, Offshore infrastructure engineering, Resources law and policy, Rigs-to-reefs
0029-8018
338-347
Chandler, John
c1f9120f-fb93-498b-abfd-1fe85c1fb9e0
White, David
a986033d-d26d-4419-a3f3-20dc54efce93
Techera, Erika J.
09ac2374-5363-4e33-a9f0-c6f2ff20d2fc
Gourvenec, Susan
6ff91ad8-1a91-42fe-a3f4-1b5d6f5ce0b8
Draper, Scott
efe46b7d-3989-403b-8b19-0b17dd54194f
Chandler, John
c1f9120f-fb93-498b-abfd-1fe85c1fb9e0
White, David
a986033d-d26d-4419-a3f3-20dc54efce93
Techera, Erika J.
09ac2374-5363-4e33-a9f0-c6f2ff20d2fc
Gourvenec, Susan
6ff91ad8-1a91-42fe-a3f4-1b5d6f5ce0b8
Draper, Scott
efe46b7d-3989-403b-8b19-0b17dd54194f

Chandler, John, White, David, Techera, Erika J., Gourvenec, Susan and Draper, Scott (2017) Engineering and legal considerations for decommissioning of offshore oil and gas infrastructure in Australia. Ocean Engineering, 131, 338-347. (doi:10.1016/j.oceaneng.2016.12.030).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Offshore oil and gas platforms, pipelines and other ancillary offshore infrastructure are aging in Australia and current regulatory frameworks favour complete removal at the end of life. However, evidence indicates that artificial reefs have formed around some of these structures and their removal could cause more harm than good. Furthermore, other perceived social, environmental and economic benefits of a total removal policy may not be warranted. The Australian regulator (NOPSEMA) is currently exploring the possibility of supporting an in situ decommissioning policy, in which alternatives to full removal such as leaving in situ, partial removal or nearby relocation may be adopted if demonstrated to be the preferable approach. This will necessarily involve changes to law and policy but such amendments must be evidence-based. The evidence needed will largely involve the disciplines of engineering and natural sciences, but also fields such as environmental management, economics, social sciences and law. If Australia were to progress an in situ decommissioning policy shift, research will be needed across all of these areas in the specific national context. This paper commences by outlining emergent engineering knowledge, showing the general conservatism of current methodologies available to assess the integrity of decommissioned offshore facilities. Thereafter, the particular legal environment in Australia is explored. This article contributes to the growing body of literature on in situ decommissioning but in setting a multi-disciplinary research agenda takes a more holistic approach.

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2017 Ocean Engineering 131_338-347 Chandler et al. - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 29 December 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 23 January 2017
Published date: 1 February 2017
Keywords: Decommissioning, Multi-disciplinarity, Offshore infrastructure engineering, Resources law and policy, Rigs-to-reefs

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 414896
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/414896
ISSN: 0029-8018
PURE UUID: ef3175ea-9d55-4b61-93e1-f78d1205a4f0
ORCID for David White: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2968-582X
ORCID for Susan Gourvenec: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2628-7914

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Date deposited: 13 Oct 2017 16:30
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 05:52

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