Offshore oil and gas platforms, windfarms, pipelines and other offshore infrastructure are ageing and we now face the prospect of decommissioning thousands of installations in the coming decades and managing unique potential pollution events in offshore environments. Additionally, dismantling these large and heavy steel structures is dangerous work for everyone involved. It is also expensive.
Structures that have been around for decades often turn into artificial reefs and so their removal could cause more harm than good. The prospect of leaving part of the installation in situ is, from both financial and environmental perspectives, attractive. Yet current regulatory frameworks tend to favour complete removal at the end of life.
When it comes to decommissioning and recycling ships, it is estimated that almost a thousand vessels are retired every year and need to be dismantled with Asia as the major center for ship recycling with over 85% of ships reaching the end of their lives in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
Unfortunately, despite new legal frameworks and increasing global scrutiny it is, most of the time, done in appalling working conditions presenting many dangers to workers. Additionally, due to lack of awareness the process of disposal can fall short of environmental standards which causes great damage, for example chemical leaching into local ecosystems.
The Recycling Marine Structures Special Interest Group (SIG) encompasses both ships and offshore structures and works to identify the challenges that lie ahead, working with regulatory bodies and industry partners that aim to provide guidance on managing projects in a safe, and environmentally responsible manner. In bringing together a network of professionals to share experiences and review the knowledge and skills gap across the industry, targeted support can be given to those working in the sector.
If you are interested looking for a greater position of involvement in our efforts to support ongoing development of standards and environmental considerations for offshore decommissioning projects, please register your interest in becoming a member of the committee by contacting .
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