Satellites Could Drive Down Offshore Decommissioning Costs


February 1, 2021
Credit: BMT

Credit: BMT

Earth observation data from satellites could play a key role in the decommissioning activity of offshore energy assets such as oil platforms, as well as offshore wind farms, BMT an engineering and risk management consultancy, has said.

BMT has been awarded a project by the European Space Agency (ESA) to assess the feasibility of using space-based data to support the decommissioning of energy assets.

The study will look to provide accurate information relating to hazards such as sea and weather conditions, maritime traffic, and environmental pollution. 

According to BMT, the study could enable a reduction in the cost of energy asset decommissioning by providing improved scenario planning in advance of decommissioning, as well as minimizing/optimizing vessel usage resulting in a reduction in fuel usage and therefore reduced Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

"The decommissioning of all energy assets, such as oil and gas platforms and wind farms, is currently a pertinent issue worldwide. Oil and gas decommissioning activities are ramping up due to installations developed from the 1970s onward reaching their end of life. The wind farm decommissioning market is also emerging, as assets installed in the 1990s and early 2000s start to approach their end-of-life phase, BMT said.

"Decommissioning activities need to be carefully handled to minimize environmental impact as they create operational and financial risk for the asset owner.  Earth observation data from satellites can play a key role in the decommissioning activity, providing regional overview of the maritime environment and allowing operational data from decommissioning teams in the field to be interrogated in real-time.  This presents exciting opportunities for the European industry to create new commercial decommissioning solutions enabled by space data and through collaboration with decommissioning sector knowledge industry leaders.

The results of the technical feasibility study will establish the roadmap for service implementation through follow-on demonstration projects.
This activity is funded through the UK Space Agency’s contribution to ESA’s Space Solutions program.

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