North West Hutton Decommissioning - Major Challenge Turns to Major Success
- Adam Wilson (JPT Editorial Manager)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 124 - 127
- 2013. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 3 in the last 30 days
- 101 since 2007
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This article, written by Editorial Manager Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 156827, "North West Hutton Decommissioning - A Major Challenge, a Major Success," by Caroline White and Ged Adams, BP Exploration Operating Company, prepared for the 2012 SPE/APPEA International Conference on Health, Safety, and Environment in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production, Perth, Australia, 11-13 September. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Excellent health, safety, and environment (HSE) performance was maintained throughout the decommissioning and removal of the first major offshore UK installation of the North Sea, the North West Hutton (NWH) installation. The NWH installation was composed of an 18 000-t steel jacket support structure and 20 000 t of topside modules. The total offshore removal program was executed with approximately 900,000 man-hours, with no days-away-from-work cases or high-potential-safety incidents.
The NWH installation (Fig. 1) was a large steel jacket installation 130 km north-east of the Shetland Islands in a water depth of 144 m. It was composed of a 18 000-t steel jacket support structure and 22 000 t of topside modules. At its peak, NWH produced a maximum of 86,500 BOPD.
Following cessation of production in January 2003, the NWH installation went into a phase of engineering down, which involved vessel cleaning and module separation in preparation for removal. The installation then went into a normally unmanned installation (NUI) mode for 4 years, during which time a decommissioning program was developed.
The decommissioning program was based on a comparative assessment of all decommissioning options, including some 50 external studies, a wide stake-holder consultation process, and review by an independent review group.
In order to capture existing information to support safe engineering design and removal, the following key activities were initiated:
- A review was made of all incidents from previous North Sea decommissioning projects.
- The project sought to retain key NWH operations personnel to support the installation in its NUI status and through the engineering design and offshore execution.
- Access to installation data was challenging. The installation was installed in 1983, when there were no electronic data management systems. Installation as-built data were available, however, because engineering and ownership changes over its lifetime required comprehensive and accurate data. The data were critical for understanding the structural integrity and for development of the module weight reports. Where gaps in knowledge were identified, a detailed offshore survey program was initiated.
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