The oil and gas pipeline network in the North Sea includes total lengths of pipeline in excess of 45,000km. Oil and Gas UK’s ‘Decommissioning Insights 2015’ present the latest decommissioning forecasts for the UK Continental Shelf between 2015 to 2024. This projects £930 million total expenditure on the decommissioning of 5,620km of pipeline over the next decade.

Options for pipeline decommissioning currently include full removal of the pipeline or decommissioning in situ; generally requiring trenching and burial of the pipeline beneath the seabed surface. The SPSL tyre mattress solution is an effective alternative to these options which can ensure the safe and environmentally sound decommissioning of pipelines at a significantly reduced cost.

The SPSL tyre mattress can be installed by placing it over the top of the pipeline to be decommissioned; this one-off installation is fast, can be completed with no divers and no need for trenching or manual burial. Once in place the tyre mattress forms a protective, self-stabilising layer protecting the pipeline from exposure over time.

The benefits to our innovative solution are:

  • It is an effective and reliable solution to stabilising the seabed over decommissioned pipelines
  • It provides a long-term, maintenance-free solution as tyres are inert when submerged in water, preventing corrosion or damage over time
  • It is a one-off solution that can be installed at ‘making safe’ or full decommissioning stages
  • The tyre mattresses are light weight, low cost and easy to install and remove if necessary
  • It allows pipelines to remain in situ beneath the seabed where they may be re-commissioned for field life extension or other viable options for their re-use at any time
  • They are made of a recycled tyres, requiring minimal treatment and processing before use
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