International rules states that all structures and equipment must be removed when a field comes to the end of its producing life. In British waters, companies can offset the cost by getting a rebate on the historic tax they have paid on oil and gas that has been extracted. The UK treasury is expected to refund billions of pounds of such tax revenues over the coming decades.

Market Trend

The North Sea decommissioning is a £50billion industry, a huge enterprise in which rigs and pipelines are removed, hauled ashore and picked apart.

Activity on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) is expected to be significantly higher than on the Norwegian, Danish and Dutch Continental Shelves. This reflects the scale of total infrastructure and the relative maturity of the different regions in the North Sea, with more fields reaching the end of their productive lives inthe UK.

From 2017 to 2025, decommissioning is forecasted to take placein349 fields across thefour regions of the North Sea:

–       Six fields on the Danish Continental Shelf

–        23 fields on the Norwegian Continental Shelf

–       106 fields on the Dutch Continental Shelf.

–        214 fields on the UKCS

Across the four regions:

–       Over 200 platforms are scheduled for complete or partial removal

–       Close to 2,500 wells are expected to be plugged and abandoned

–       Nearly 7,800 kilometres of pipeline are forecasted to be decommissioned.

Most of the decommissioning will be undertaken by big oil services group, such as Petrofac and Wood Group.British companies, mainly in the North Sea, facing coastlines of north eastern England and Scotland might be in most advantaged position to benefit from the business opportunity related to decommissioning.



Malaysian oil and gas companies can collaborate with British companies who have operations in Malaysia, to offer competitive package and undertake the expensive work of decommissioning. The British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (BMCC) is able to facilitate such business collaboration. The BMCC recently launched its first sector specific committee in Energy to serve as the principal platform upon which partnerships and collaborations are formed between Malaysia and Britain in the oil, gas and energy industries.


For more information, please contact MATRADE London at london@matrade.gov.my



While every effort has been taken to ensure that the contents of the article (MATRADE’S Insight) are accurate and current, MATRADE cannot be held responsible for any inclusion, omission or error and is not liable for any loss or dispute arising from the use of the information provided.