A new report has shown oil and gas contractors can expect to be faced with an increasing number of opportunities to carry out oil rig decommissioning work over the next decade.
Industry authority Oil and Gas UK recently published a report entitled Decommissioning Insight 2016, which showed that the sum being spent on dismantling old rigs and other equipment in the North Sea is increasing rapidly.
In 2014, less than £1.6 billion was spent on decommissioning projects, but this rose to £2.1 million in 2015, accounting for five per cent of total expenditure in the UK oil and gas industry.
Now, experts are predicting that spending on decommissioning will increase even further over the next ten years, potentially rising to £17.6 billion between now and 2025.
As a result, limited company contractors specialising in oil and gas work can expect to see more demand for their skills and expertise.
It's been a challenging few years for the UK oil and gas sector, with dramatically falling oil prices having a significant impact on the industry. However, with decommissioning work picking up, the number of opportunities available for contractors with experience working on oil rigs has begun to increase, with further growth in demand for workers with these specialist skills expected over the next ten years.
What's more, it's not just limited company contractors with oil and gas industry experience that will be in line to benefit from any available contracts, as those with construction and engineering knowledge may also be able to add value to the decommissioning of disused and potentially dangerous oil rigs.
Figures from the Decommissioning Insight 2016 report show that 52 new such projects were kickstarted this year, with 100 more oil platforms earmarked for either complete or partial removal from the North Sea over the coming decade.
Furthermore, around 7,500 km of undersea pipelines are set to be decommissioned, while more than 1,800 wells are in line to be plugged, creating a myriad of opportunities for oil and gas contractors as a result.
Mike Tholen, upstream policy director at Oil and Gas UK, commented: "There could still be up to 20 billion barrels of oil and gas to recover from the UK Continental Shelf. If the UK is to continue to gain the full economic benefit from its oil and gas resource, it is important that the industry continues to work with the Oil and Gas Authority, as well as with HM Treasury to attract fresh investment, avoid premature decommissioning, retain the critical infrastructure needed to access future reserves and ensure decommissioning is carried out in a timely and most cost-effective way."
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