Premier orders feasibility study for decommissioning ops

Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) has signed an agreement with Premier Oil to study the feasibility of using the PB3 PowerBuoy for decommissioning operations in the North Sea.

Ocean Power said on Monday that work under the three-month contract would determine the viability of using the PB3 for monitoring and guarding remaining wells and subsea equipment after removal of a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel.

Also, the study would determine if the PB3 could be used before subsea decommissioning and/or well plugging & abandonment operations.

The PB3 would primarily be used to provide site monitoring and surveillance to prevent vessel intrusion and disturbance of remaining subsea infrastructure. The study will also evaluate the PB3’s ability to monitor well pressures and temperatures by connecting to subsea control modules.

George H. Kirby, president and CEO of OPT, said: “We believe our PowerBuoy could enable Premier Oil and other operators to enhance the decommissioning planning process and at the same time ensure the safety of other users of the sea. The PB3 could potentially serve as an alternative to an on-site guard vessel, aiming to improve health, safety, and environmental statistics and reducing operational costs while incorporating clean power into their offshore operations.

“We believe the Premier Oil project could lead to other applications including pipeline integrity assurance and the charging of unmanned underwater vehicles, as well as Metocean data collection.”

During the study, OPT will work closely with Premier Oil’s other subsea equipment suppliers to produce a design to integrate their equipment into the PB3. If the feasibility study is successful, the next step could be to prove the solution through a North Sea trial deployment in 2018.

Pieter voor de Poorte, subsea decommissioning lead of Premier Oil, added: “This technology aligns with our goals of increasing safety, efficiency and operational effectiveness through the development and utilization of the most advanced technologies that support our oil and gas activities. The PowerBuoy system will deliver on all these aspects and offer a step change in our decommissioning planning processes.”

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