Guest Column: “A joint approach works”

Written by Jan Willem van Hoogstraten, CEO EBN

The facts: there are 155 platforms and 1,200 wells in the Dutch part of the Southern North Sea. More and more fields are reaching the end of their economic life, which means that according to convention the infrastructure must be cleaned up or made suitable for re-use.

The costs are around EUR 7 billion. To avoid losing the opportunity of shared learning and innovation by every operator working in isolation, EBN has taken on the role to coordinate cooperation.

Together with the industry, NOGEPA (trade association for operators in the Netherlands), the IRO (Association of Dutch suppliers in the oil and gas industry) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs we have worked together very closely on the ‘Netherlands masterplan for Decommissioning and Re-use’. During the process, other relevant stakeholders such as NGOs have also been involved.

In addition, relevant and very useful input came from the UK from organizations like Decom North Sea, OGA and Oil & Gas UK. The result: a report stating how decommissioning and re-use can be organised in the Netherlands and the steps required for successful implementation.

At this very moment in time, a team consisting of industry, EBN and supported by the Boston Consulting Group, is working on the first steps of the implementation of the plan. In my view a joint approach really works. In fact, it is essential (alternative: indispensable) for a successful approach to decommissioning and re-use in the Netherlands.

Decommissioning is becoming more and more expensive over the last few years. There has to be a departure from the trend. This is only possible by using new technology (innovation) and through cooperation, also of course with the marine service sector. For example, by clustering and having wells and platforms cleaned up in a joint campaign, instead of individually. If we work together, our estimate is that dismantling cost could be around 30 per cent lower than the current estimates, saving more than €2 billion.

It is essential that all parties that will benefit from these cost savings are prepared, also in financial terms, to commit.

In the end benefits can be huge. At the presentation of the masterplan, we noticed how positively the Netherlands views a coordinated multi-stakeholder approach. It is critical that we can maintain this focus over the next few years”.

For us, EBN, this project is a huge challenge. In 2016 we assigned new priorities in our strategy. One of these priorities was to take on the role to coordinate the decommissioning issue.

EBN is the only one party in the Netherlands with a complete overview of infrastructure due to its unique position as join venture partner on behalf of the Dutch state in almost every oil & gas activity. It was therefore only logical for us to take the lead.

Energie Beheer Nederland (EBN) is a company that invests in the exploration, extraction and storage of gas and oil on behalf of the State.

Offshore Energy Technical Session Decommissioning

Learn the latest on decommissioning developments during the Technical Session on this subject at OEEC 2017. Learn more via the website:

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Posted on August 2, 2017 with tags .


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