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UKCS decommissioning and field life extension priorities revealed

Lifecycle stage

Optimise scope, guidance and engagement

As well as decommissioning, OGA wants to focus on getting the most from the maturing UK basins by extending field life and asset life accordingly. This includes assessing the impact of current policies on cost outcomes for operators, as well as sharing geographic differences and practices from asset life extension projects around the world. A combination of increased recovery and reduced costs can help “deliver sustained revenue from UKCS”.


The OGA has been very clear on how they will pull the whole of the industry, including all trade associations, together to meet the goal of maximising economic recovery. In their Decommissioning Strategic Review matrix, OGA outlined several key actions that they will lead on for the benefit of the whole industry.

Develop the strategic approach

OGA will work with industry and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to develop a UKCS decommissioning strategy and publish the plans. They will also continue to support the Maximising Economic Recovery (MER) UK Board and set them clear priorities that they should work towards.

Facilitate collaborative conditions

Evidence that the OGA wishes to include as many key stakeholders as possible, they have put a firm interest in supporting Oil & Gas UK and Decom North Sea with maintaining and improving industry guidance and regulations. Together with promoting knowledge sharing, OGA believes smaller costs will manifest out of this action.

Clear cost benchmarking

Working with DECC, OGA will work with the wider industry to establish the true costs of decommissioning and field life extension projects to better inform operators. This includes progressively looking at improving costs and efficiency plans while setting benchmarking metrics up until 2050.

Planning and technology

OGA wants to introduce early stage planning support for operators looking to carry out decommissioning or field life extension projects to maximise recovery and reduce costs once more. By supporting the supply chain also, OGA hopes that demand-led opportunities for low-cost competitive decommissioning solutions will appear through effective collaboration.


The report by OGA goes into significant strategic detail that will hopefully come as a relief to some operators that were described recently in a BBC article as “fiercely competitive, [that] are asking for someone to arrange for their collaboration.”

The OGA has already been welcomed by the industry who hope the regulatory body can stimulate an economic push for the UKCS. Alison Baker, oil and gas specialist at PwC recently commented, “During recent interviews, we picked up a real sense of urgency to create one last cycle of success that will retain and generate jobs, stimulate growth and ensure the security of energy supply.”

If the OGA manages to fulfil its own objectives, operators, industry bodies and stakeholders alike in years to come will look back favourably at the foundations put in place by the Government’s arms-length authority including creating this Decommissioning Strategy.

Photo Credits: Wikimedia

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