Decommissioning and Abandonment

Topics: Decommisioning/site remediation

Decommissioning is a focus item for the newly formed Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) in the UK. The OGA Corporate Plan (www.gov.uk/government/consultations/oga-corporate-plan-draft-for-consultation) provides an interesting view of decommissioning as seen through a North Sea lens. With the current low-oil-price environment, the cost of decommissioning is seen as a key driver for the ongoing economic viability of the basin.

What does “good” look like for decommissioning in the North Sea? Like the Gulf of Mexico? Probably not exactly; however, many lessons learned by the operator community, supply chain, and industry can be considered and adopted for the basin. Here are a few thoughts on what “good” might look like.

Operators—Be Transparent

Supply Chain—Be Strategic

Industry—Be Realistic

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 173693 Coiled Tubing Completes Unique High-Pressure Well Abandonments in Remote Alaskan Field by Brendon Webb, Schlumberger, et al.

SPE 173694 P&A on a Deepwater Compliant-Tower Asset Using Hydraulic Workover (HOW): Addressing the Challenges for Successful Execution by Ralph R. Sinno, Halliburton, et al.

SPE 175426 Preparation for Cost-Effective Decommissioning and Abandonment of Subsea Pipelines by Julie Burke, Intecsea, et al.


Win Thornton, SPE, is is vice president of decommissioning, global projects organization, at BP. He has more than 35 years of experience in offshore construction and decommissioning projects working as an operator for BP, Chevron, and Oxy; as a contractor from Brown & Root and WorleyParsons; and as a consultant for Winmar and TST. Thornton holds a BS degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MS degree from the University of Houston. His recent work includes offshore decommissioning and reuse projects in the Gulf of Mexico, west Africa, California, Alaska, southeast Asia, and South America. Thornton has championed the environmentally sound and cost-effective disposal of obsolete platforms through placement in state-sanctioned “Rigs to Reefs” programs. He is a member of the JPT Editorial Committee.

Decommissioning and Abandonment

Win Thornton, SPE, Vice President of Decommissioning, Global Projects Organization, BP

05 December 2015

Volume: 68 | Issue: 1