Re-use & Decommissioning report 2024, ‘Responsible decommissioning’

Each year, Nexstep reports the progress in and a forward look on the decommissioning of oil and gas infrastructure in the Netherlands. Just like last year, this year has seen an increased volume of dismantling activities, both onshore and offshore. In 2023, eight offshore platforms were dismantled completely, and a further three almost entirely (except the jackets). The oil and gas operators are expected to decommission around 60% of the infrastructure over the next ten years. This report also highlights the rising costs, the shortages on the labour market and the slow rate of progress in terms of innovation. All three may prove a challenge to the optimum decommissioning process for the coming years.

To counter these trends, smart, creative and effective solutions will be needed. Examples include the new contracting strategy for the clearing of all onshore locations as developed by NAM, and a new technique for the removal of onshore pipelines as used by operator Kistos. In addition, joint campaigns and the standardisation of regulations across the whole (southern) North Sea can contribute to maintaining the pace of decommissioning and cutting costs. Together with operators, Nexstep is performing technical qualifications to facilitate the introduction of new and better techniques. For example, Through Tube Cementing, a method for plugging wells without having to employ a drilling rig.

More than 70% of the costs for decommissioning the Dutch oil and gas infrastructure are borne by the Treasury. This fact underlines the importance of cost cutting. At the same time, intensified use of the limited space in the North Sea will oblige us to improve the quality of the ecosystem. Nature-friendly dismantling may offer opportunities in this respect, which we are currently investigating. Read more about these and other developments in our report for 2024: Responsible decommissioning, now and in the future!

Re-use & Decommissioning rapport 2024 ENG