The National Decommissioning Centre (NDC) is Officially Open

L to R is George Boyne, Colette Cohen, Paul Wheelhouse MSP and Lord Duncan.

The National Decommissioning Centre (NDC), a global technology R&D hub, was opened by Lord Duncan, UK Government Minister for Scotland and Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Scottish Energy Minister, in Newburgh, in North-East Scotland’s Energetica Corridor on Friday, January 11, 2019.

The government ministers joined industry and civic leaders to celebrate the launch of this long-term £38m partnership between the Oil & Gas Technology Centre and the University of Aberdeen, part of the Aberdeen City Region Deal.

100 offshore platforms and 5,700km of pipeline are forecast to be decommissioned or reused over the next decade on the UK Continental Shelf. With the Oil and Gas Authority estimating the total cost of oil and gas decommissioning to be £58bn, the NDC will help industry deliver the >35% cost reduction target set by the regulator in 2016.

Combining industry expertise with academic excellence, the Centre aims to work in partnership with companies to become the global leader in research and development (R&D) focused on reducing costs, extending field and asset life, and transforming the traditional approach to decommissioning. The NDC builds on the world-leading R&D capability at the University of Aberdeen in areas such as decommissioning technologies, predictive modelling, environmental assessment and the economics of decommissioning.

The Centre is in advanced discussions with several anchor partners, focused on bringing together academic researchers, experts from industry and business partners with the best experience, ideas and equipment to create a unique environment for collaborative R&D.

The NDC is home to the most powerful industrial laser at any UK academic institution, a state-of-the-art digital visualization and collaboration suite, and a supercomputer cluster enabling the fast simulation and modelling of innovative decommissioning scenarios.

This includes facilities for technology trials and rapid prototyping, with a hyperbaric testing vessel that can simulate ocean conditions of 6,500m, an indoor freshwater immersion tank, environmental chambers for temperature testing from -40C to +180C and hangar space for the design and construction of decommissioning technology.

Led by Professor Richard Neilson from the University of Aberdeen and the OGTC’s Dr. Russell Stevenson, the NDC is developing a wide-ranging, industry-led research program with dedicated access to the brightest and best PhD and MSc students, and several projects are already underway.

Linking industry demand and expertise with academic capability and skills will help create competitive advantage, not only for the oil and gas industry, but for decommissioning challenges in the wider energy sector, for example, in offshore renewables.

The NDC will also collaborate with R&D institutions and innovation centers across the country active in late life asset management and decommissioning, and partner with fishing, marine, safety and environment organizations in the UK and internationally.

About the Oil & Gas Centre

The Oil & Gas Technology Centre is a not-for-profit, industry-led, technology research and development organization based in Aberdeen.

  • The Oil & Gas Technology Centre was established in October 2016 with £180 million funding as part of the Aberdeen City Region Deal.
  • The Deal is a long-term improvement program to enhance growth, competitiveness, connectivity, infrastructure, housing and employment into an already successful regional economy.
  • The Deal is supported by the Scottish Government, UK Government, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and Opportunity North East.
  • An additional £174.1 million has to be generated in matched funding from industry, university or others as part of the Centre’s long-term funding, which can be both cash and in-kind.

About the University of Aberdeen

  • Established in 1495, the University of Aberdeen is the fifth oldest in the UK and is consistently ranked in the top 200 of the world’s universities.
  • A total of 76% of Aberdeen’s research was judged ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ through the UK’s most recent Research Excellence Framework
  • Located in Europe’s oil and gas capital, the University is renowned for its world-leading research in energy, environmental and biological sciences, health, and food and nutrition.
  • In 2016 the University launched the UK’s first master’s degree in decommissioning oil rigs and platforms. As the first of its kind in the world, the programme is multi-disciplinary and focuses on the key aspects of decommissioning such as engineering, project management, economic benefit, law, safety and environmental science.


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