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September 29, 2017 / Klaas van Alphen
Category: Research Update 

Offshore Pipeline Decommissioning Engineering Guideline Completed

This month a significant research project on the development of an offshore pipeline decommissioning guideline was successfully completed. The project involved a desktop study of existing offshore pipeline decommissioning practices and literature; and the subsequent development of an engineering guideline for use by the Australian oil and gas industry. The work is presented in two parts and available for APGA RSC members:

  • Part 1 - Project 6.3-11: Offshore Pipelines Decommissioning Engineering Guideline: Desktop Study
  • Part 2 - Project 6.3-11: Offshore Pipelines Decommissioning Engineering Guideline

The Australian offshore oil and gas industry has been subject to significant growth in the past 30 years and the length of offshore pipelines will exceed 7,000 km in 2017. To date, there have been 15 decommissioning projects in Australian waters. This number will increase in upcoming decades, given the increasing age of assets.

There is currently no Australian industry wide Standard or Code of Practice that is dedicated to the decommissioning of subsea pipelines. There is however, a large body of documentation that has been published by the Australian Government, offshore pipeline operators, oil and gas regulators and the wider international industry.

The desktop study presents a comprehensive literature review of published documentation on offshore pipeline decommissioning, which forms the basis of the engineering guideline.

The guideline presents a process for the evaluation, planning and implementation of offshore pipeline decommissioning projects that aligns with the Australian Standards and guidelines issued by Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA). APPEA has formed a decommissioning committee that includes oil and gas operators, as well as representatives from National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) and other state regulatory authorities such as the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) in Western Australia.

This work has been performed by Atteris under the direction of technical advisors from Energy Pipelines CRC, APGA RSC, as well as in consultation with this Decommissioning Committee formed by APPEA.

This research is significant to the industry in many ways. It could be the foundation for change within the regulatory environment; and guide the development of best-practice decommissioning practices in Australia (including assets other than offshore pipelines). The guideline will be submitted to the AS2885 Part 4 Committee for consideration for including a section on sub-marine pipeline decommissioning.


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