The UK National Decommissioning Centre (NDC) and Chevron have signed an agreement that will support research at the NDC through to 2023, focused on the effects of offshore oil and gas decommissioning on the environment.
The NDC, is a technology research and development hub opened in 2019, that is a long-term £38m partnership between the University of Aberdeen and Oil and Gas Technology Centre, funded through the Aberdeen City Region Deal.
The anchor partnership with Chevron will fund a portfolio of research projects that will aim to better quantify the environmental impacts of decommissioning and provide guidance on the best options from an environmental perspective, NDC said Thursday.
An anchor partnership requires a financial investment and a three to five-year commitment which secures a seat on the NDC Steering Group
The projects under the agreement with Chevron will focus on techniques for monitoring fish stocks around installations and pipelines as man-made marine habitats, the bioavailability of potential decommissioning-related substances, and modeling the longevity and eventual fate of offshore infrastructure left in situ.
The projects will be delivered by three Ph.D. students and a postdoctoral researcher under the supervision of leading biological sciences and engineering academics from the University of Aberdeen.
First partnership with oil major
"This is the first anchor partnership between the NDC and an energy major. It marks a significant step forward in the NDC's intention to work with companies to become a global leader in research and development focused on reducing costs, extending field and asset life, and transforming the approach to decommissioning," NDC said.
NDC Director Professor Richard Neilson, from the University of Aberdeen, said: "I am delighted that we have Chevron as our first anchor partner, and look forward to working in partnership to assess the environmental impacts of decommissioning."
"We will be providing Chevron with rigorous and unbiased evidence to assist its approach. The research around fish stock techniques, bioavailability of substances and longevity and mode of the breakdown of oil and gas structures will provide valuable information that will inform decision-making.
"These projects are interdisciplinary, working across engineering and biological sciences to minimize any negative impacts of decommissioning activities and maximize any opportunities to enhance the marine environment."
Peter Oliver, Senior Staff Environmental Scientist at Chevron, said: "The work we have planned with the NDC is an important part of Chevron's research to better understand the environmental implications of decommissioning across the breadth of our international operations. Our agreement with the NDC is an effective way of leveraging outstanding UK science and technology."
Russell Stevenson, Industrial Director at the OGTC, added: "The signing of our first Anchor Partner Agreement with Chevron marks a significant milestone for the National Decommissioning Centre and represents a key addition to the existing research and development program. In particular, understanding the impact various decommissioning options have on the marine environment will take a valuable step forward through this close working relationship with Chevron."