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Surfing the Australian Decommissioning Wave

Updated: Feb 25


The decommissioning wave is starting to form in Australia and New Zealand with the regulators putting pressure on operators to tidy up quicker after cessation of production. Within the next 5 years decommissioning of the following offshore projects should be complete:

  • Enfield – Woodside Energy

  • Echo-Yodel – Woodside Energy

  • Woollybutt – ENI

  • HJV – Santos

  • Mutineer/Exeter/Fletcher/Finucane – Santos

  • Stybarrow – BHP

  • Laminaria/Corallina – Australian Government

  • Tui – New Zealand Government

Within that group there are around 60 development wells to P&A, a similar amount of XT’s to interface with and a significant amount of subsea hardware and flexibles to recover in most cases. To put that in perspective, if you take an average of 20 days per well to P&A, that is 1,200 days of plugging and abandonment operations in the next 5 years, or nearly 8 months per year for the next 5 years. I don’t have the figures but the amount of hardware and flexibles to recover and dispose of is going to be HUGE. Cost wise, assuming a Rig/LWIV spread rate of AUD 800,000/day, puts the cost at a staggering $960MM. The work for construction vessels may be in the order of $75-100MM per field, so add that and your talking upwards of $1.5Billion…..for just 8 fields. Both the Australian and New Zealand Governments will pay 100% of the two fields they have taken ownership of. In addition the Australian Government will also pay in the order of 40-50% of the bill for the rest through claw back of taxes already paid. The wave is forming. Grab the board, wax and suit up for the ride.

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