Life extension, repurposing and decommissioning

Maximising value from decommissioning activities for the community, environment, industry, economy & future

Australian legislation requires oil and gas companies to remove any property installed within a permit area at the end of its life. A proponent also has the opportunity to demonstrate that alternative decommissioning approaches might deliver equal or better environmental, safety and well integrity outcomes when compared with complete removal.

Decommissioning options include:

  • Full removal and relocation
  • Full removal and disposal
  • Partial removal and relocation
  • Partial removal and disposal
  • Leave in place / in-situ decommissioning

NERA’s Decommissioning Strategy seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  • Exhausting all viable options for continued use of existing infrastructure, prior to the commencement of decommissioning;
  • Decommissioning executed in a timely, safe and environmentally sustainable way;
  • Reducing the overall cost of decommissioning in Australia, through facilitating projects that target collaboration, innovation and efficiency, and minimising the potential burden on the Australian Government and industry; and
  • Maximising the value of decommissioning activities to Australia by creating opportunities for local service and technology providers in Australian and regional decommissioning markets.

Projects and Initiatives

Below are some examples of collaborative projects and initiatives that are supporting Australia to become a leader in life extension, repurposing and decommissioning.

Centre of Decommissioning Australia (CODA)

The Centre of Decommissioning Australia (CODA) was established by NERA to help build an innovative, collaborative and technology-led approach to accelerate Australia’s energy transition, to ensure the $50 billion decommissioning challenge is harnessed as an opportunity and to support commercialisation of energy transition opportunities.

CODA is dedicated to driving innovation and efficiency of activities and creating long-term local jobs from decommissioning, recycling or repurposing, while also supporting decarbonisation of late-life offshore oil and gas assets.

    Find out more here.

    National Decommissioning Research Initiative (NDRI)

    The NDRI is the first long-term industry-wide oil and gas decommissioning research collaboration in Australia, delivering independent science to better understand the impacts of decommissioning oil and gas structures on the marine environment.

    Coordinated by NERA, the NDRI provides an independent scientific evidence-base to improve understanding of how the decommissioning of offshore oil and gas structures influences the marine environment over time

    Further information at

    Exmouth Integrated Artificial Reef project

    The $1 million Exmouth Integrated Artificial Reef is a unique project that has enhanced marine habitat and recreational fishing opportunities, built as part of a collaborative project between Subcon, Curtin University, BHP, RecFishwest and the Exmouth community.

    Installed in July 2018 on a previously barren seafloor, the Exmouth Integrated Artificial Reef is the largest purpose-built reef in the Southern Hemisphere and the first of its kind in Australia. The reef is now a thriving ecosystem and has seen over 100 different species of fish call it home.

    Further information here.

    Offshore platform in-situ collapse project

    As an example of innovation, NERA co-funded Perth-based engineering consultants Linch-pin to investigate the feasibility of an alternative approach to decommissioning. This technique involves surgical cuts to a jacket which would encourage the structure to be intentionally collapsed in a guided way, to reduce the need for large vessels to support decommissioning.

    Further information here.

    Australian Decommissioning Liability Assessment

    NERA has partnered with seven oil and gas operators to commission a project through Advisian to quantify Australia's decommissioning liability and estimate potential savings that can be achieved through decommissioning activities.

    Specifically, the project has:

    • Compiled and categorised a database of oil and gas assets and wells in Australian waters
    • Estimated decommissioning costs; and
    • Identified potential opportunities for cost saving from decommissioning.

    View the Executive Summary here.