Using innovation to light new decommissioning pathways

Local SMEs are developing world-leading innovations in decommissioning

Australia has the opportunity to leverage innovative technologies, practices and techniques to reduce its $30 billion decommissioning liability prior to the arrival of large-scale activities, and in the process save Australian taxpayers hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars in reduced offsets.

Vessel hire is one of the most significant contributors to the cost of decommissioning, particularly in relation to removal of large structures and drilling rigs for well abandonment. This project will investigate an innovative approach to collapsing a large structure to reduce the requirements for a heavy lift vessel.

Through this collaborative and industry-led project, Perth-based project partner Linch-pin will investigate the engineering feasibility of a new decommissioning method for the offshore oil and gas industry, which involves collapsing — or ‘flat-packing’ — the jacket structure of an offshore platform to achieve a flat profile on the seabed.

With NERA’s support, Linch-pin will procure and use specialist software to model the platform collapse mechanism in a real-life application. The project will investigate whether heavy lift capability is required to decommission and remove large jacket structures in Australia.

Key project activities include:

  • Data gathering from industry operator;
  • Structural model and simulation of jacket collapse; and
  • Cost comparison of alternative decommissioning options.

This decommissioning option has the potential to boost the competitiveness and productivity of the Australian energy resources sector.

Project Impact

With many of Australia’s original oil and gas assets reaching the end of their productive life in the coming decades, Australia has an opportunity to be a world leader in decommissioning solutions, knowledge and skills.

If successful, this innovative decommissioning method has the potential to be applied not just in Australia but also globally, further developing high-value technological capabilities in Australia and resultant employment opportunities. This development of Australian expertise in an area of engineering not currently available in the market will create ongoing opportunities to export Australian engineering capability to the global market.

This decommissioning option has the potential to boost the competitiveness and productivity of the Australian energy resource sector in the following ways:

  • Highlight potential opportunities for alternative and bespoke decommissioning approaches for Australia;
  • Provide an alternative in-situ decommissioning option; and
  • Develop engineering capabilities to support in-situ decommissioning both in Australia and South–East Asia.

This alternative decommissioning method would also open up the potential to develop artificial reefs through leave-in-place of infrastructure.

Please note that this project is an engineering feasibility study only. Once in-situ collapse has been successfully simulated and the potential cost savings are understood, then additional work will be required, including but not limited to environmental impact studies and laboratory simulation.

Foundation Partners


Project Timeframe

This project is now complete.


Project Funding

Total Project Cost: $160,000

NERA: $80,000

Industry: $80,000

*Funding excludes GST


Related Projects

This project will expand NERA’s portfolio of projects that explore innovative decommissioning options.

Exmouth Integrated Artificial Reef

The $1 million Exmouth Integrated Artificial Reef is a unique project that will enhance marine habitat and recreational fishing opportunities by creating Australia’s first integrated artificial reef and the largest purpose-built reef habitat in Western Australia.

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National Decommissioning Research Initiative (NDRI)

NERA is leading the development of the National Decommissioning Research Initiative (NDRI) to improve community, regulatory and industry understanding of the impact of infrastructure on the marine environment.

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