UK offshore oil and gas industry trade bodies Oil & Gas UK and Decom North Sea are to align on key areas to deliver a more efficient and effective decommissioning agenda for the North Sea.
More joined-up working – but with each body retaining its independence, geographical representation, brand and governance – was announced today at the Offshore Decommissioning Conference jointly organised by both organisations and taking place in St Andrews.
The UK offshore oil and gas industry – currently facing significant economic and operational challenges – is striving to improve competitiveness to attract major investments in new fields, manage late life operations and, when the time is right, undertake decommissioning.
This new partnership approach – expected to get underway in the first quarter of next year – has been considered against that backdrop. Both organisations believe alignment of two influential trade associations offers a significant opportunity to streamline cross-industry activities around a clear common purpose.
Karen Seath, Decom North Sea interim chief executive, said: “Working together more closely would be in the best interests of the industry, the regulator and the members of both Oil & Gas UK and Decom North Sea. We already work in tandem in areas such as the publication of guidelines. If we can further align our activities, resources and strengths, I am convinced we will be able to offer all our members a more effective and efficient mechanism to tackle this challenging phase in the life cycle of our offshore oil and gas assets.”
Oil & Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie said: “Alignment on key areas will help ensure our industry stays focused on maximising economic recovery, while managing late life strategy and timely decommissioning in a safe, efficient and cost effective manner.”
The growing importance of decommissioning in the context of Maximising Economic Recovery from the North Sea has been highlighted in the Wood Review and by the Oil and Gas Authority, industry’s new regulator, in its Call to Action.
Deirdre Michie added: “Decommissioning spend is likely to rise from £1 billion in 2014 to over £2 billion in 2018, by which time over 50 fields will either be approaching or undertaking decommissioning*. This is a key issue for industry to manage and for the market to respond to. Aligning our two organisations at this time is strategically important for the industry and will aid effective preparation for the years ahead.”