Woodside’s struggles in fully removing old infrastructure from its offshore Enfield oil field, have reminded us of the risks and opportunities associated with the huge decommissioning task facing the industry.
According to the WA-based Centre of Decommissioning Australia (CODA), almost $60 billion in decommissioning work will be required over the next 50 years in Australia.
In addition to this financial liability, decommissioning must sit toward the top of ESG risks for oil and gas producers, crossing heavily into both environmental and safety performance.
Reputationally, any underperformance in decommissioning will also be seen by many in the context of the industry’s perceived performance on climate, and be highlighted by activists.
In the context of increased wartime demand, and the scramble for market share in a decarbonising world, decommissioning must seem as exciting for some in the industry, as cleaning their bedrooms is for my kids on the weekend.
But, I wonder if a lack of industry focus might see WA miss the huge opportunity decommissioning presents to build a new, world class sector, meeting the huge demand in Australia, and competing for the massive spends that will also occur globally.
The WA government has got behind CODA to foster industry collaboration on the risks and opportunities decommissioning presents.
With business opportunities, jobs and improved environmental and safety performance on offer, industry should get on board.
This article also appeared in The West Australian newspaper.