While operators have been quick to position themselves for the upcoming ‘decommissioning boom’, few projects have kicked off and it’s fast emerging that one of the main challenges will be knowing when the volume of work will be available. We speak to decommissioning companies about the tricky art of timing. We also look at what Denmark’s greenlighting of Nord Stream 2, in spite of fierce opposition from the US, means for the gas industry.

Elsewhere, we assess how risks to workers’ physical health have changed and what can be done to increase mental health awareness, and consider the delicate balance behind wildcat drilling and whether the risk is worth the potential reward.

Also, we sit down with Oilfield Helping Hands to hear about the realities of oilfield workers’ lives and how the organisation helps them. And as we approach the tenth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster,  we talk to the Southwest Research Institute about developments in well safety and preventing blowouts.

Finally, we speak to BirdLife Africa about the effects the oil and gas industry can have on biodiversity and explore innovations in plug and abandonment technologies as a variety of solutions head towards the market.  

In this issue

Timing North Sea decommissioning: when will the boom begin? 

A new generation of specialist decommissioning companies are staking their claim to a slice of the UK Continental Shelf decommissioning market, projected to be worth £15.3bn over the next decade, but uncertainty remains over when the volume of work will become available. Julian Turner reports.

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Nord Stream 2: inside the world’s most controversial pipeline project

Denmark has greenlit the Nord Stream 2 project, a joint German-Russian pipeline aimed at transporting Russian gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea. The move is fiercely opposed by the Trump administration, which fears growing Russian influence in the region, but are new natural gas supplies too good to pass up? Julian Turner reports.

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Offshore safety stats: should mental health be included?

The UK Government has published its safety statistics for 2018, and the figures are a mixed bag. While no fatalities were reported, total injuries reached their highest level since 2015, and there is not a single mention of changes in workers’ mental health. JP Casey looks at the data and assesses what can be done to increase awareness of mental health issues.

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Wildcat drilling: worth the risk? 

Two recent tales underline the high risks and potential rewards of wildcat oil drilling, with one firm striking oil and another forced to abandon its investment after encountering a dry hole. Heidi Vella looks at the delicate balance involved and asks why, despite the risks, activity is picking up.

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Oilfield Helping Hands – how charity starts at home for the oil sector

Despite the headlines of a sector obsessed with self-interest, the oil industry has the capacity for compassion. Andrew Tunnicliffe talks with Oilfield Helping Hands’ national president, Bill Markus, about the work it does to support industry colleagues.

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Talking blowout prevention with SwRI’s Amy McCLeney

With the tenth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster approaching, Umar Ali speaks to Southwest Research Institute research engineer Amy McCleney about the latest innovations helping to improve well safety and preventing blowouts.

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BirdLife Africa: inside the battle between conservation and oil exploration

Due to the increasing handout of exploration licenses, the waters off the coast of West Africa have become a hub of oil and gas exploration activity. However, the implications for the region’s marine wildlife and eco-systems are concerning, as BirdLife Africa’s Paul Silai tells Ross Davies.

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Innovations in plug and abandonment 

With decommissioning being an increasingly important field for oil and gas operators, companies have invested significantly in technologies that could reduce the time and cost of these essential operations. Umar Ali explores the new systems that could improve the plug and abandonment process.

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Next issue preview

The chairman of the UK’s Oil and Gas Authority has warned that the industry may lose its “social licence to operate” if it cannot show itself to be part of the solution to the climate crisis. We investigate the threat to the industry.

BP and Chevron have partnered to fund new exploration initiatives in Australia. We look into where the funding will be going and what it means for the Australian offshore sector. And with production beginning at Johan Sverdrup, we ask if the best is good enough when it comes to greening offshore discoveries.

Elsewhere, we speak to senior economist Hans van Cleef about ABN AMRO‘s predictions of uncertain performance from OPEC in the coming year. We also find out how offshore firms can be part of the eco-solution.

Finally, we examine asset life extensions, what goes into pitching decomissioning services, and India’s scrapping of green clearances for the offshore sector.