Within the last five years, two floating platforms have been decommissioned in the Gulf of Mexico, and several others (fixed and floating) are reaching the end of their design life. Thus, the topic of decommissioning is at the forefront of our industry. More conversations involving decommissioning lead to more questions: What can one do with the facility? Is there the possibility for life extension, and is there even a need for one? Is relocation an option, rather than decommission? When do I need to start planning? What is the cost of decommissioning a facility? What is the most efficient means to decommission a facility? In order to answer these questions, a variety of factors must be considered, such as the type of facility, the water depth and geographical location, and the regional regulatory requirements. Detailed planning and a thorough evaluation of the various options to determine the most cost effective and appropriate solution is critical for a successful operation. This paper will walk through some of the major components of the planning and decision-making process and will discuss the various challenges and opportunities associated with executing the decommissioning of a facility. It will draw on examples and experience from previous projects to better illustrate the issues as well as highlight potential solutions and optimizations.
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