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Decommissioning research needs for offshore oil and gas infrastructure in Australia


Melbourne-Thomas, J and Hayes, KR and Hobday, AJ and Little, LR and Strzelecki, J and Thomson, DP and van Putten, I and Hook, SE, Decommissioning research needs for offshore oil and gas infrastructure in Australia, Frontiers in Marine Science, 8 Article 711151. ISSN 2296-7745 (2021) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 The Author(s) Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.3389/fmars.2021.711151


When offshore oil and gas infrastructure is no longer needed, it is either removed, partially removed, left in place, or left in place but repurposed. These processes are collectively referred to as decommissioning. Australian legislation requires oil and gas companies to develop acceptable plans for the safe removal of all offshore infrastructure at the end of a project's life. Over the next 50 years, the liability for this decommissioning in Australia is expected to exceed US$45 billion. Unlike countries such as Norway, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, Australian decommissioning activities are in their infancy, with only three cases (to date) in Commonwealth waters where infrastructure has been left in place or partially removed as part of decommissioning. Differences between the Australian marine environment and that of other regions around the world where decommissioning-related research is better progressed include very low sedimentation rates, both tropical and temperate habitats, different species composition, low primary production, and frequent tropical cyclones, as well as unique sociodemographic and cultural characteristics. Accordingly, the outcomes of the decision support tools used in other regions to identify preferred decommissioning options may not be equally applicable in Australia. Here we describe research to support risk and impact assessment for offshore decommissioning in Australia, where full removal of infrastructure is the "base case" regulatory default, but other options including partial removal and/or repurposing might provide similar or better outcomes when environmental, social, economic and seafood safety aspects are considered. Based on our review we propose an integrated framework for research needs to meet legislative requirements for decommissioning and identify research gaps that need to be addressed to inform decision-making for decommissioning in the Australian context.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:oil and gas decommissioning, Australia, decision-making, productivity, connectivity, contaminants, social license
Research Division:Engineering
Research Group:Maritime engineering
Research Field:Marine engineering
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine systems and management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Melbourne-Thomas, J (Dr Jessica Melbourne-Thomas)
UTAS Author:Hobday, AJ (Dr Alistair Hobday)
ID Code:152522
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Engineering
Deposited On:2022-08-19
Last Modified:2022-09-07
Downloads:5 View Download Statistics

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