First of all: what exactly is decommissioning, and why does it need to happen? Over the past decades, hundreds of offshore platforms have been placed in the North Sea around the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Norway to extract oil and gas and deliver it ashore. In the context of the energy transition and sustainability goals set out in the Paris Climate Agreement, the continuing use of these fossil fuels will be phased out further in the future. Hence, many of these platforms are therefore on the list to be dismantled. The dismantling of a platform entails removing the complete infrastructure and the topside and jacket. The owners of these platforms are responsible for the entire lifespan, including the decommissioning thereof.
For Iv-consult, the careful dismantling of offshore structures involves the safe lifting and transportation of the topsides or jackets to the mainland, something in which Luuk Blekman has become specialised in the past three years. The process begins at a much earlier stage and involves research, offshore inspections, weight calculations, and determining the centre of gravity of the topside and jacket. Luuk and several colleagues followed an offshore training to conduct physical surveys on platforms. As a result, Iv-Consult can now carry out offshore inspections on behalf of clients. “This is a very nice part of our work,” says Luuk. “Without the possibility to perform offshore inspections, we would be working only in an office environment, which could result in people losing touch with the actuality. It is therefore very special as well as useful to perform these inspections. This is all part of the strategy to be fully prepared when a client requests us to go offshore in the future.”
The offshore inspections examine whether the actuality corresponds to the available drawings, reports, and photos. In addition, whether structural changes have occurred over the years and whether equipment has been added or removed is also checked. All of this information helps us to build a complete overview (as much as possible) of the platform before, among other things, the weight is determined, and the models for the lifting and transport analyses are drawn up. However, much of the information is already collected in the preliminary phase at the office. This is a complicated puzzle, especially at the beginning of such a project. Luuk: “It’s a challenge to gather and organise all the information and ensure nothing is overlooked. Of course, we have set up a system to ensure we know how the information is recorded and where we need to focus. It’s really nice to devise a solution in this way. And compared to when we first began, we are already achieving this much faster. Our goal is to ensure that the reports we offer to clients are drawn up as uniformly as possible and are clear and easy to read.”