The North Sea has 3500 miles of pipelines that has to be decommissioned by 2027.
Oil operators and supply chain companies continue to improve productivity, reducing costs and improving efficiencies in decommissioning, and look to new technologies to help achieve targets.
Mike Wilson, Chairman of EIP, has been applying his 35 years’ industry experience developing subsea lifting solutions to slash pipeline, bundle and subsea infrastructure removal costs.
Mike Wilson commented: “Our subsea removal solutions don’t rely on heavy lift vessels which will help to significantly cut decommissioning costs. Ambient Lifter can be deployed during winter months, which means operations can continue even when bad weather prevents crane vessel lifts.”
In 2014, the international association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) reported 77 pipeline bundles installed in the UKCS up to 7.5 km long, ranging in diameter from 300 mm to 1250 mm. The report comments full removal is expensive and impractical due to the following issues:
- dewatering the bundle to tow
- fatigue and integrity of outer casing material
- difficulty of cutting bundle sections with complex internal
However, in 2019 there is still a range of issues:
- degradation of outer casing impacting bundle integrity
- sheathed internal cables making it difficult and time-consuming to cut in-situ
- coated pipes are adding further complexity.
The decommissioning regulator, OPRED, is encouraging oil o
perators to adopt new technologies rather than leaving bundles in-situ and risking future monitoring problems.
EIP’s Ambient Lifting technology delivers a controllable system to manage ascent and descent, mitigating risks associated with a fast rise to the surface or sudden plummet to the seabed, experienced with other subsea lifting methods.
EIP’s Ambient Linear is designed to recover bundles/pipelines from the seabed, support the bundle throughout its length and either tow it back to shore or retrieve sections onto the back deck of an anchor handler vessel via a winch. Both the Ambient Linear and Ambient Lifter are launched from standard vessels, giving a significantly lower cost solution, which is comparable with rock dumping and leaving them in situ.
The company supplies tailored subsea lifting packages, supported by specially designed baskets which can be winched onto Anchor Handler vessels to retrieve trees, spools, grout bags, jumpers, mattresses and other debris. www.ecosse-ip.com