Almost 150 oil platforms in UK waters could be scrapped within the next 10 years, according to industry analysts.
Douglas Westwood, which carries out market research and consultancy work for the energy industry worldwide, said it anticipated that “146 platforms will be removed from the UK during 2019-2026”, around 25% of the current total.
But Douglas Westwood said that decommissioning could provide an opportunity for the specialist firms involved in the work.
Later this month, it will publish its decommissioning market forecast for the North Sea – covering Denmark, Germany, Norway and the UK – over the period 2016 to 2040.
This is due to the “high number of ageing platforms in the UK, which have an average age of over 20 years and are uneconomic at current commodity prices, as a result of high maintenance costs and the expensive production techniques required for mature fields”.
Douglas Westwood said: “The oil price collapse has been bad news for nearly every company involved in the industry, but one group that could actually benefit from it are specialist decommissioning companies.
“For these companies there is an opportunity to be part of removing the huge tonnage of infrastructure that exists in the North Sea. With oil prices forecast to remain low, life extension work that has kept many North Sea platforms producing long past their design life no longer makes commercial sense.”