North Sea decommissioning cost forecasts have dropped because companies are “holding up a mirror up to themselves” and sharing lessons, according to a top industry boss.
Nils Cohrs, head of decommissioning at the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), said the regulator used “benchmarking” to show operators how they compare to their peers in terms of cost efficiency.
Operators with a higher ranking are readily sharing lessons to help weaker performers improve and get their decommissioning cost forecasts down, Mr Cohrs said.
In June 2017, the OGA revealed it would cost £59.7 billion to dismantle the UK North Sea and set the goal of reducing the figure by at least 35%.
Two years on, it has shaved a total of 17% off the initial estimate, lowering the figure to £49bn on a like-for-like basis, which does not factor in new or planned infrastructure projects sanctioned since the original report was published two years ago.
A number of investment decisions have been made on new projects since then, which means the North Sea will have a bigger portfolio of platforms, wells and pipelines. If they are included, the cost estimate still falls, but to £51bn.