Bilfinger's core crew knowledge is key to decommissioning success
“If you’ve lived in your house for over 10 years, you know all the nooks and crannies and any previous repair jobs or defects. With late life assets and decommissioning, the same is true, and having experienced, asset-familiar teams working on these assets is critical to the safe, efficient preparation for heavy lift and removal.”
According to Bilfinger Salamis UK Managing Director Sandy Bonner, it’s this core crew knowledge of many of the North Sea’s ageing assets, combined with over four decades experience in maintenance, industrial cleaning and inspection that means the company is well placed for the decommissioning market.
“At Bilfinger, we’ve developed our decommissioning capability over many years, both offshore and onshore. Our clients range from operator and heavy lift companies to engineering contractors. No two projects are the same as we have extensive capability including surveying, engineering, inspection, specialist cleaning, asbestos management, welding, hot and cold cutting, lifting and rigging," he said.
“By offering single-source skilled teams we can deliver significant cost savings, enhanced technical expertise and improved efficiency during pre and post-cessation of production.”
Headquartered in Aberdeen, with offices in Great Yarmouth, Groningen and Esbjerg, the company has a strong pan-North Sea infrastructure and logistics capability, and skilled personnel on over 70 UK work sites and offshore installations.
“As an incumbent services contractor we can effectively support our clients as they move into late life phases on their assets. Our teams’ diverse skills are tailored to the lifecycle of an asset,” said Mr Bonner.
An active member of Decom North Sea, Bilfinger has built a strong track record over recent decades years, delivering late life and decommission preparation scopes for clients including Altera, CNRI, TAQA, ConocoPhillips and Total.
“It’s a natural fit for us. We’ve been working in the North Sea since 1973. If you look at some of the most recent assets to enter the decommissioning phase, such as the Ninian North, the Eider, the Tyra and the Banff FPSO, our clients recognise that Bilfinger can to provide a wide variety of skilled tradespeople and can draw on their specialist knowledge to ensure safe dismantling of these assets.”
In particular, the company has seen a lot of activity from their Southern North Sea base, last summer with the decommissioning of several satellite assets.
“Our team in Great Yarmouth has been heavily involved in decommissioning, as well as some ‘industry-first’ projects,” said Mr Bonner.
A collaborative approach with several heavy lift companies means Bilfinger’s clients have access to an extensive service range for topsides preparation and removal.
“Last year we were also involved in a major campaign with a heavy-lift partner to carry out preparatory work for the consecutive decommissioning of two offshore assets in the Southern North Sea. We carried out in-depth site surveys to aid strategic planning of the lift, including design, fabrication and installation of aids underdeck to allow final cut of the topside and jacket. Bilfinger removed risers, umbilicals and flow lines as well as structural steelwork as required by our client to allow ease of access while maintaining structural integrity. Working from a walk-to-work vessel, we also installed lifting padeyes and trunnions for the subsequent heavy lift. Our engineers also provided full welding inspection, and caisson lowering, as well as NORM monitoring throughout. The use of our rope access-trained multi-skilled teams minimised the personnel required on-board and maximised efficiency.”
Mr Bonner said Bilfinger are likely to see more decommissioning opportunities linked to decarbonisation efforts from oil and gas operators as part of the energy transition.
“Removal of structures isn’t the only option, with repurposing of legacy infrastructure providing further opportunities.”
- Originally published in OGV Energy Magazine, October 2020