The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has unveiled a screening tool to help maximise the repurposing of oil and gas infrastructure for energy transition projects.
On 21 June, the NSTA announced that 20 companies operating a total of 120 fields, nearing or reaching the end of their production lives, will receive the tool initially. They will use it to identify which pieces of kit could be repurposed, with the process adding structure and consistency to the assessment of North Sea repurposing potential, helping industry to make the most of opportunities. Where there are no realistic alternatives, it will ensure that decommissioning work can progress without unnecessary delays.
With repurposing able to make a huge contribution to the UK’s drive to net zero, it can potentially generate multibillion-pound savings across carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen schemes which, otherwise, would require all new equipment. It noted initial analysis as suggesting opportunities for repurposing platform topsides, jackets and subsea systems for decarbonisation projects will likely be limited, whereas removal and onshore dismantling, or cleaning up and leaving in-situ are set to be the right option for most infrastructure once production draws to a close.
Pipelines, instead, are considered “the real prize” and are being prioritised. The NSTA noted that according to its analysis, more than 100 could be suitable for CCS or hydrogen projects and that finding a new life for just half of these could generate estimated savings of around £7bn. Repurposing assets would also reduce decommissioning costs.
The NSTA will review submissions from the 20 companies, cross-check them against its own data, before then working with operators to explore options in detail and overcome any barriers to repurposing. Examples of multi-asset repurposing plans to be found in the UKCS include Eni’s ambitions to reuse and repurpose existing pipelines and platforms for its Liverpool Bay CCS project – part of the HyNet CCS and hydrogen scheme.