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How to improve decommissioning: opinions of industry thought-leaders

Lifecycle stage

“It is important to have technically competent personnel ready to stand in the gap when they are required. Although the oil and gas industry is going through challenging times at the moment, with many skilled and experienced individuals having to be let go from their jobs, the industry still needs to continue to promote internships and co-op programs at colleges and universities to sustain the skills pipeline required.”

Another respondent also talked about the need to continue to promote the industry to workers of the future after they raised concerns about the image of oil and gas.

“The industry is not attractive as a career for school leavers any more, especially as the wages have not increased in proportion to other industries such as automotive or aerospace recently. Despite technological advancements having been made, the industry is too set in its ways and won’t embrace or invest in its future to attract new talent and sustain the skills pipeline. This needs to change.”


The buzzword of the oil and gas industry at the moment is ‘collaboration’. Working collaboratively is seen as a way to reduce costs, maximise profitability and share expertise together. This view was shared by respondents to the questionnaire – 72% believed that working collaboratively with other operators can help to reduce the costs of well abandonment in particular. Individually, the industry experts made some good suggestions on this topic.

“Combining all operator data and training into one entity will help to create a more collaborative industry. Creating a hybrid source of R&D can help to improve cost and productivity as well as eliminate common industry problems around standardised legislation and attitudes towards decommissioning.”

As well as praising the work of industry bodies such as Decom North Sea, respondents were quick to highlight that a singular approach to decommissioning is needed to be shared by all, not just in regions, but holistically around the world.

“One Body, One Direction, One Goal. To decommission for the betterment of the world’s environment by eliminating risk, cost, doubt and conclusions. One outcome. The guaranteed decommissioning practice is 100% safe, cost-effective, environmentally effective and sustainable for life.”


Over 55% of respondents agreed that significant technological developments are being made in the decommissioning industry, but the need to continue to invest in these developments is important for the long term.

“Decommissioning is pure cost with no revenue upside. The pressure to decommission at the lowest possible cost prevents any technological developments being made. Instead of focussing on short term ‘make do’ solutions, we should look towards long term technological advancements that can help to greatly improve cost savings.”

To build on the technological advancements made, industry experts believed that investment would be the greatest hurdle to overcome. 48.8% in the report believed that there wasn’t enough finance currently in the decommissioning industry – a situation that was expanded upon by some industry experts:

“Funding through government or a required funding scheme for operators to contribute to could help. This could fund technological developments for decommissioning and would become the driver for improvement.”

“We have more cutting edge technology but cannot get people offshore to execute the work that is causing a rapid reduction in skills. Basically, we are not doing a fraction of the work we did in the 90s and there is too much red tape in the industry now – plenty of paperwork but zero action.”


Of course, it wouldn’t be an oil and gas questionnaire if there weren’t suggestions for “tax incentives”, “grants” or “new legislation” – just three of the main points respondents made when suggesting improvements.

Respondents also gave their feedback on the state of the oil and gas industry as a whole, as well as the influence of oil prices over the next 12 months and where the biggest opportunities lie for decommissioning. The collective responses can all be found by downloading the Claxton Decommissioning Industry Questionnaire Report.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Decom industry report

Claxton's Decommissioning Industry Questionnaire Report

To monitor the industry and find out the opinions of experts in the field, Claxton conducted a market survey in late 2015 and now the results are available here.