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Decommissioning in Norway: demand VS capacity in the 21st century

Lifecycle stage


The NCPA (Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency) has estimated £16bn will need to be invested to completely clear the current infrastructure in the NCS. With over 2,300 active wells still in Norwegian waters, it is clear why the region will be busy over the next ten years.

Despite a lack of information on proposed platforms set to be decommissioned, data from OSPAR (Oslo and Paris Conventions) have identified 32 installations in the North Sea that are likely to cease production in the next ten years. This includes 11 installations in Norwegian waters including Ekofisk A, G, S and:

  • Albuskjell F
  • Edda
  • H-7
  • Hod
  • Huldra
  • Valhall PCP
  • Vest EkoFisk
  • YME MOPUStor

As discussed earlier in the article, due to Norway’s heavier installations, decommissioning is expected to take a similar timeframe to the UK, despite having fewer installations. Amongst the decommissioning project over the next five to ten years, a mixture of concrete (12), fixed steel (88), floating (19) and subsea installations (348) are to be considered for decommissioning. The amount of wells set to be worked on over the next few years has yet to be decided.


The report clearly identified that demand for Norwegian decommissioning projects is increasing, but estimates by NCPA have revealed that Norway is capable of handling the increase in workload to do this.

Norway has a capacity of 50,000 – 160,000 tonnes of decommissioning annually which matches the average demand (100,000) until 2022. Although the industry may suffer initially to decommission on this scale, by the end of the timescale, there will be surplus capacity that can be used to catch up on projects.

As for the skills in the industry, as a whole, average decom activity is predicted to double over the decade with people required to complete projects. While 271,000 are already employed directly in the industry, it is anticipated that the workforce will grow faster than the UK average over that period to meet the demands of the whole of the UKCS.

It seems that Norway is well placed to meet the demand required to decommission in the 21st century. While capacity will ramp up accordingly to meet deadlines, operators still need to keep an eye on expected costs and deadlines to ensure they stay in check. It is something that will become increasingly harder to do as further light is shed on the state of Norwegian assets that are heavier and in deeper waters than the rest of the UKCS fields.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

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