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Julian Foley explains how some expert solutions can enable transparent and efficient decommissioning processes.

Compared with offshore operations, the onshore aspect of decommissioning projects can be very visible, and any perceived failure in the duty of care can have serious financial and reputational implications for oil and gas firms and those they entrust with the decommissioning process.

John Lawrie Metals has been working with the UK oil & gas sector since it arrived in the North East of Scotland in the 1970s, and continues to do so as fields and equipment increasingly move towards the end of their operational lives and require decommissioning.

Now, as part of the ArcelorMittal family, the firm can provide its customers with a high level of traceability and reporting in their decommissioning process, from the point of vessel discharge to the onshore processing sites, right through to the smelting plant and finished product. This is only possible as the material remains in the company’s custody throughout the entire process.

Unlike many items destined for recycling, steel is one of the few materials that is infinitely recyclable without any impact on the quality of the product. The use of recycled steel also has significant benefits when it comes to calculating the carbon footprint of manufactured items.

As part of ongoing efforts to decarbonise the steel manufacturing process, ArcelorMittal has taken this one step further with the launch of the XCarb product line. By processing 100% scrap metal through electric arc furnaces powered by 100% renewably generated electricity, steel is produced with a considerably lower carbon footprint per tonne compared to traditionally recycled steel – allowing customers to greatly reduce their reported Scope 3 emissions.

Up to the challenge

With ever larger items and subsea infrastructure increasingly being returned to shore and discharged at a number of ports, John Lawrie Metals currently provides support to various decommissioning and disposal contractors with specialist downsizing and recycling solutions. Its highly experienced team has safely and efficiently completed several high-profile projects for various contractors across multiple locations and has prepared considerable tonnages of steel for recycling.

The efficient working methods have also resulted in a reduction in the time taken to complete works for its clients, without any compromise in safety standards, returning the quayside/worksite to full use and ensuring that the value for their scrap metal is realised as quickly as possible.

During recent conversations with one recovery contractor, the CEO stated that he felt that John Lawrie Metals’ specialist service was, “less than 1% of the overall project cost, but 99% of the perceived liabilities”. This statement starkly reflects the importance of ensuring that the correct operational management is in place when scrap items are returned to shore for downsizing, and that materials are routed to minimise any environmental risk, whilst also working to maximise any financial returns, where possible.

John Lawrie Metals’ particular level of single-step assurance, combined with its ability to directly route material into the XCarb production process results in a specialised offering within the current decommissioning and wider metal recycling markets.

Julian Foley is decommissioning and projects director at John Lawrie Metals.

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