As many oil and gas installations reach the end of their productive life, the energy industry faces new risks associated with decommissioning and dismantling these platforms, warns Willis Energy, a division of Willis Group Holdings plc, the global insurance broker.
In the years ahead a significant number of offshore oil and gas platforms will be decommissioned. In the North Sea alone, for example, it is estimated that over the next few decades the total costs associated with offshore decommissioning could reach £30 billion.
"Dismantling and removing large offshore platforms, particularly those located in inhospitable environments, is a serious operational and logistical challenge. But increasingly legislation compels companies to do this," explained Chris Dear, Managing Director of Willis Energy. "As a result, energy companies face a number of significant risks, including seepage and pollution and complex contractual liabilities."
"Major platform operators and leading insurance underwriters believe that the unique exposures arising out of these specialised projects require a bespoke insurance policy," he continued.
To assist clients with these challenges and help them manage the risks arising from decommissioning offshore oil and gas platforms, Willis has launched an "Offshore Dismantling & Removal Insurance Facility", in conjunction with a group of Marine and Energy insurers committed to underwriting this class of business.
The policy is designed to address specific decommissioning risks, including contractual liability exposures. The policy also covers seepage, pollution and contamination risks.
Willis has extended standard removal of wreck cover to also address the high profile "heavy lifting" risks unique to decommissioning projects. The policy also provides platform operators with extra cost and expense cover and, if required, physical loss and damage cover. Willis has also developed a risk matrix to help clients assess their exposures.
Dear added: "Members of the Willis team have designed Offshore Dismantling & Removal Insurance Programmes for some of the largest projects in the world. We firmly believe that, in conjunction with our Decommissioning Security product, our new Offshore Dismantling & Removal Facility places Willis at the forefront of risk transfer solutions for platform decommissioning activity."