05/02/2021 - 14:00

Enfield warning for Woodside

05/02/2021 - 14:00

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The offshore oil and gas regulator has started a compliance action against Woodside for decommissioning issues at Enfield’s Nganhurra FPSO.

Enfield warning for Woodside
The Ohka FPSO vessel is another floating production facility off WA's coast. Photo: Woodside

The offshore oil and gas regulator has started a compliance action against Woodside for decommissioning issues at Enfield’s Nganhurra FPSO.

An inspector from the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority issued an improvement notice in October 2019, warning Woodside had not maintained the condition of the riser turret mooring or removed it.

That was almost a year after production at the floating platform, serving the Enfield operation, was turned off.

Enfield is about 60 kilometres north of Exmouth, and is 40 per cent owned by Mitsui.

Nopsema said today it had accepted a revised environmental management plan for the decommissioning, and issued a compliance action “due to Woodside being unable to comply with an originally approved plan to remove the equipment for onshore disposal”. 

“Due to the equipment’s poor condition and repair, this is no longer feasible without unacceptable risks to safety and the environment,” the regulator said.

“Woodside has been issued with enforcement action in the form of a general direction requiring wells be plugged or closed off, and property no longer in use to be removed in a timely and proper manner. 

“The general direction reinforces legal requirements regarding the removal of property associated with offshore petroleum activities, and carries significant civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance.”

In 2020, Nopsema issued 14 such notices, Business News understands, ranging from improvement notices to directions and prohibitions.

Property remaining in the area may include eight production wells, a flowline and riser system, two dynamic risers, a riser turret and mooring system, and subsea structures such as a manifold, the regulator said.

Nopsema said it would be investigating a potential breach.

The turret will now be moved onto the seabed as part of an artificial reef outside the title area, according to the new plan.

A spokesperson for Woodside said the company was focused on strong environmental performance, including decommissioning facilities in line with good industry practice.

"We welcome NOPSEMA’s acceptance of the revised Nganhurra Cessation of Operations Environment Plan," the spokesperson said.

"Since the cessation of production, we have executed substantial decommissioning work plus undertaken extensive studies and planning including seeking approvals for decommissioning of remaining Enfield infrastructure.

"General Directions will be fulfilled based on existing work plans, noting that planning and engineering work to support these activities was already underway prior to receipt."

The Nganhurra FPSO warning comes after issues decommissioning the Northern Endeavour FPSO in the Timor Sea.

Northern Endeavour had been owned by Woodside and was sold to Northern Oil and Gas Australia in 2016, a company which later entered liquidation.

In early January, the government published a $144 million contract with Upstream Production Solutions for ongoing management of the facility.

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