Oilfield services firm Petrofac has officially taken over operatorship of the Northern Endeavour FPSO on behalf of the Australian Government, following the decommissioning contract award earlier this year.
The Northern Endeavour FPSO is currently moored between the Laminaria and Corallina oil fields, about 550 kilometers northwest of Darwin in the Timor Sea, and is not producing oil.
After the offshore fields' owner, Northern Oil & Gas Australia (NOGA), went into liquidation in 2019, the government was left with the responsibility of removing the giant floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel and restoring the Laminaria-Corallina oil fields in the Timor Sea.
On the occasion of the taking over the operatorship of the FPSO, Petrofac said: "This major milestone is a huge step in the landmark decommissioning contract which heralds the start of an era of decommissioning in the nation’s offshore oil and gas sector."
Petrofac’s Australian team based in Perth was contracted approximately six months ago to complete Phase 1 of the decommissioning of the Northern Endeavour FPSO by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR).
The contract sees Petrofac as the outsourced operator responsible for decommissioning and disconnection of the FPSO from its subsea equipment, and temporarily suspending the wells.
Since the award, work has been underway to prepare the FPSO for disconnection. The first task was to carry out extensive due diligence, including physical inspections of the remote FPSO, which is being maintained in non-production mode.
As the nominated operator on behalf of the Australian Government, Petrofac is responsible for the safety and day-to-day operation of the FPSO, as well as preparing it for disconnection.
"Petrofac’s team in Perth has grown since the award, creating local jobs and opportunities for upskilling in the Australian workforce. The team is supported by the company’s global technical hubs with their extensive decommissioning experience. A large proportion of the existing offshore crew on board the Northern Endeavour have been retained to ensure critical asset knowledge is retained," Petrofac said.
Josie Philips, Petrofac’s Regional Director, Australia, said:
"The whole team including our subcontractors, the supply chain and the original operator, as well as the regulators and the Commonwealth, have pulled together to make this a safe, efficient and successful transition to our operatorship. Now under regulation, as operators we can focus on the next steps to safe disconnection.”
Nick Shorten, Chief Operating Officer for Petrofac’s Asset Solutions business, said:
“This is a high profile, landmark project both for Petrofac, and for the Australian decommissioning industry so I’m delighted to see the progress the team are making in setting the benchmark for the future using our unique integrated services approach.”