The UK is expected to spend £15.3 billion on decommissioning over the next decade, 20% lower than forecast in 2017.
That’s according to Oil & Gas UK, which suggests the pace of decommissioning is steadying as the sector becomes more efficient and gains expertise.
A new report released by the industry body expects decommissioning expenditure will cost about £1.5 billion per annum over the next ten years, with a total of 1,465 wells to be shut down over the period.
More than 950,000 tonnes of topsides are scheduled for removal across the North Sea, roughly a third of which will be from the UK Continental Shift.
Oil & Gas UK says reductions in cost have been driven by improved productivity coupled with the movement of activity beyond 2027, demonstrating the decommissioning market is maturing – cumulative expenditure up until 2027 has reduced by £4 billion.
The report illustrates a number of individual projects have seen the average amount of days spent on well decommissioning halve throughout their lifecycle.
Joe Leask, Decommissioning Manager at Oil & Gas UK, said: “As the decommissioning sector matures, we’re becoming more efficient and our growing expertise is enabling us to plan projects more cost-effectively.
“Our knowledge is continuously expanding and contributing to competitive decommissioning delivery. Forecast unit well decommissioning costs are reducing across all areas of the North Sea and have fallen by an average of 26%.”