The Sunset of an Industrial Plant and the Global Decommissioning Challenge

Author: Nicola De Blasio

September 2019


After many years of productive service, industrial plants reach the end of their useful life and must be dismantled. This complex and costly process, know as decommissioning (commissioning refers to the beginning of a plant useful life), is a confluence of economic, environmental, physical, and regulatory challenges.

Deciding when an industrial plant becomes “idle iron”, as it is referred to in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM), requires detailed analyses taking into consideration multiple factors such as commodity prices, operating costs, remaining reserves and regulatory regimes.

Once a decision is taken, the following steps require highly specialized workers to ensure that the plants are safely and efficiently dismantled, in an environmental sustainable way. Adding to the significant operational complexities, operators also need to be able to navigate the many environmental and waste management regulations of individual nations.

But what does this all mean in practice?

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For Academic Citation: De Blasio, Nicola (2019), “The Sunset of an Industrial Plant and the Global Decommissioning Challenge,” RiEnergia, Sept. 24, 2019.