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Decom Mission gathering pace alongside energy transition


I don’t think we’re unusual in telling you that 2023 was an incredibly busy year for Decom Mission.

The energy industry continues to develop at pace, and that’s reflected by our own activity and that of our members.

The Export Opportunities are Real

One of the most obvious examples of development is the fact that I am writing this as the CEO of Decom Mission, as opposed to Decom North Sea.

In keeping with the evolving global decom landscape and our increasingly-international membership, 2023 saw our re-brand to Decom Mission, reflecting the international nature of decommissioning and our members’ (and potential members) activity.

taqa brae © Supplied by TAQA
Removal of the Brae Bravo topsides was completed in August 2021

To that end, we’ve found our visits to industry events in Norway, Australia and the USA invaluable in helping us gauge the market, the sector’s requirements and the opportunities to export expertise to a global market worth an estimated $300+ billion.

It’s Not Just About Oil and Gas…

And with the continued call for decommissioning services for the nuclear sector in the near term, and the renewables sector in the longer term, our strategy for 2023 and beyond also addresses that emerging potential.

Our engagement with, and involvement at events held by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Zero Waste Scotland and the Coalition for Wind Industry Circularity are a succinct illustration of the transferability of the oil and gas decommissioning skillset.

And when you consider a UK nuclear civilian decommissioning spend of £3.5billion per annum, that transferability of skills becomes particularly compelling.

Our Role in the Energy Transition

Adopting a North East Scotland perspective, it is apparent that the Energy Transition is already in full swing.

Projects such as Acorn CCUS, and infrastructure upgrades at Boddam and Kintore are happening alongside the newly announced closure of the Forties Pipeline System and the end of refining at Grangemouth.

These projects are symptomatic of simultaneous growth and decline in the energy economy.

Looking back in our history it is apparent that the fundamental objective set when we established in 2009 remains unchanged: to signpost the opportunities ahead for our members; to connect, inform and facilitate industry relationships.

Member Advocacy and insightful events

In 2023, we continued to undertake fruitful engagement with our key stakeholders, including the UK and Scottish governments, making sure our members’ voices are heard and pushing for improvements in understanding and support.

© Supplied by Kenny Elrick/DC Thom
(L-R) Richard Lind (Ashtead Technology general manager), Sam Long (CEO Decom Mission), Callum Falconer (operation director Decom Mission).. Inverurie, Aberdeenshire. Supplied by Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

We have continued this theme with our usual series of informative and detailed events that focus on the nuts and bolts of decommissioning.

From Decom Week held in May, through to Decom Live held in Northumberland in September we have strived to provide workshops and conferences that are affordable and relevant to our members’ needs.

Getting Down to the Detail

During the past year, we’ve undertaken deep dives with numerous members, across the UK and beyond.

The more we know, the better we can represent these organisations whilst helping them optimise opportunities and face challenges.

Strategy, capability and capacity are at the heart of these discussions, and whilst the content always remains confidential, it has done so much to inform our own approach – including the agenda for Decom Week 2024.

We continue to garner sector-feedback, having launched a survey of the global decommissioning supply network during Offshore Europe.

When we share the findings at Decom Week in May, this will be the first survey to provide primary insight into current capability and capacity.

What To Look Out for in 2024

What does 2024 hold? Following the NSTA’s revised cost estimate of £2billion+ per annum in upstream decommissioning in the UKCS alone, there is no doubt – or surprise – that technological innovation and people are the key issues of the immediate future.

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