Petrofac has taken a key step in the decommissioning of the Northern Endeavour floating production, storage and offloading vessel offshore Western Australia which is owned by the federal government after the previous operator Northern Oil & Gas Australia went into administration.
The FPSO was left stranded offshore Australia in 2019 when NOGA went into administration, leaving the federal government to take over responsibility for the vessel and the cost of field decommissioning.
Petrofac, the UK-listed energy services provider, said on Monday it had officially taken over operatorship of the FPSO from the Australian government, which the contractor hailed as a “major milestone” in the landmark contract that heralds the start of an era of decommissioning in the nation’s offshore oil and gas sector.
Petrofac’s Australian team, based in Perth, Western Australia, in April won a contract worth up to A$325 million (US$212 million) to complete the first phase of the decommissioning of the Northern Endeavour.
The contractor has been designated as “outsourced operator” and will be responsible for decommissioning and disconnecting of the FPSO from its subsea equipment, and temporarily suspending the wells.
Disconnection of the floater is expected to occur over approximately 18 months.
The Northern Endeavour is a 274-metre long FPSO moored between the Laminaria and Corallina oilfields, about 550 kilometres northwest of Darwin in the Timor Sea.
Since the contract award, work has been under way to prepare the FPSO for disconnection.
Petrofac said its first task was to perform extensive due diligence including physical inspections of the remote facility, which is being maintained in a non-production mode.
Josie Philips, Petrofac’s regional director for Australia, said: “[Now]… as operators we can focus on the next steps to safe disconnection.”
As the nominated operator on behalf of the Australian government, Petrofac is responsible for the safety and day-to-day operation of the FPSO, as well as preparing it for disconnection.
A large number of the existing offshore crew on board the Northern Endeavour have been retained to ensure critical asset knowledge is retained during the decommissioning phase.
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