The group, which includes representatives from ANSTO, SA Radiation, Total Hazardous Integrated Solutions and Qa3, has been formed in response to the Australian Government’s Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment Bill which aims to strengthen and clarify Australia’s offshore oil and gas regulatory framework.
The bill, an amendment to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006, requires operators who are decommissioning in situ to report their precise contamination levels to limit further pollution.
The Contaminant Advisory Group has been created to provide advice and integrated solutions on the best approach to decommissioning and the associated contamination issues. The members’ combined capabilities and experience will evaluate potential contamination risks for offshore and onshore infrastructure (both in-situ and through the disposal or recycling pathways), particularly in relation to naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) and mercury, common by-products during oil and gas extraction.
NORM and mercury are hazardous materials and may pose a risk to the environment if not dealt with appropriately during decommissioning and can be difficult to detect without expert knowledge and skill. There are currently only a select number of companies that have developed both the skillsets, experience and equipment necessary to detect, differentiate and treat these contaminants.
Using its knowledge on full field decommissioning, Xodus will lead the team of specialised contaminant consultants, having benefitted from established ongoing relationships with operators in the region.
Alasdair Gray, Late Life and Decommissioning Lead at Xodus said: “We believe that collaboration will be key to the future success of decommissioning in the region, and we are excited to bring this group together to tackle some important challenges relating to legacy offshore oil and gas equipment.
“As laid out in NOPSEMA’s recent research strategy, the risk of contaminants is one of the primary knowledge gaps. Each member of the group has proven experience in the areas of NORM and mercury research, detection, analysis, decontamination and disposal. In bringing these experts together, we can provide not only Australian operators but the wider supply chain with an end-to-end solution to support their decommissioning decision making and ultimate demonstration of ALARP to the regulator.
“Knowledge sharing will be key in ensuring that we are offering the best integrated bespoke solutions to each operator’s unique contamination issues to protect the environment, increase safety and reduce the costs of decommissioning in Australia.”
Kent Gregory, Director of SA Radiation added: “SA Radiation is proud to be part of the Contaminant Advisory Group put together by Xodus. We look forward to pooling our expertise to find the best solutions for our oil and gas clients.”