Environmental Consideration Leads to Successful Decommissioning of FSO
- Adam Wilson (JPT Editorial Manager)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 128 - 130
- 2013. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 76 since 2007
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This article, written by Editorial Manager Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 157017, "Decommissioning of an FSO Containing Hazardous Waste: A Successful Story," by Claude-Henri Chaîneau, Jean-Claude Bourguignon, Guillaume Goubard, and Pierre Bang, Total E&P; Philippe Jean, SPE, PJN Consulting; Benoit Lefebvre, SITA France; Tom Peter Blankestijn, Sea2Cradle; and Emmanuel Tambe Ayuk, SNH, prepared for the 2012 SPE/APPEA International Conference on Health, Safety, and Environment in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production, Perth, Australia, 11-13 September. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Ship dismantling issues have never been as sensitive as they are now. In this context, the Rio del Rey partnership, represented by Total E&P Cameroun, planned the Serepca-1 (SR1) tanker’s end of life. SR1 was a Suezmax type oil tanker moored off the coast of Cameroon. The ship was a significant source of raw material and contained waste that could turn its dismantling into a health hazard and an environmental hazard. Various environmental surveys were made to identify hazardous materials and to produce the ship’s Green Passport. The end of life of any tanker has economic, environmental, and social implications.
SR1 was a former oil tanker, built in 1974. In 1984, it was converted into a floating storage and offloading unit (FSO) and positioned in the Biafra bight, off the coast of the Republic of Cameroon. Its 14 tanks stored Kolé crude oil extracted from the Rio del Rey oil field. However, given the oil tanker’s age, the company decided to replace it. SR1’s oil storage activities ceased in May 2007, and it is in this context that a full decommissioning project was set up.
Given the large quantity of steel contained in the structure, an oil tanker constitutes a significant source of raw material. The elimination strategy selected, however, can turn such a tanker and the various polluting, toxic, or inflammable substances onboard into a health and environmental hazard. Several decontamination phases must be carried out in precise sequences before any dis-mantling operation, to prevent environ-mental and health risks. When one looks at the international situation, one sees that, during the last two dozen years, most of the world’s commercial ships and warships have been sent to developing countries to be dismantled in conditions damaging to the environment and to health. The evolution of environmental regulations in the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) during the 1980s caused the cost of hazardous waste disposal operations to increase in industrialized countries. As a result, hazardous wastes have been exported to developing countries, where environ-mental regulations were less thorough. It is in reaction to this situation that the international community implemented the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.
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