Ship decommissioning usually occurs some years after the ship has been commissioned and is a means by which a vessel that has become too old or too obsolete can be retired from the operating fleet. Decommissioning of a vessel may also occur for safety reasons (such a ship\’s nuclear reactor and associated parts reaching the end of their service life), depending on the type of ship being decommissioned. In a limited number of cases a ship may be decommissioned if the vessel in question is judged to be damaged beyond economical repair. Although, the increase in offshore exploration has led to several new oil and gas discoveries, it has also laid a negative impact on the environment. The non-functioning offshore oil and gas platforms and other installations pose a threat to the marine environment and are a major source of marine pollution. The increasing need of offshore exploration activities combined with stringent environmental regulations imposed by governmental organizations has augmented the need for marine vessel decommissioning. Moreover, heavy penalties imposed by governments on any negligence by exploration and production companies have resulted in companies investing further in offshore installation decommissioning.
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Recent uptrend in the number of deepwater installations, stringent environmental regulations imposed by different countries, the increase in number of non functional and outdated vessels are the major drivers of the oil and gas vessel decommissioning market. The associated costs involved in decommissioning a vessel and negligence on the part of exploration companies act as major restraints for the market. Rapid depletion of land based resources has led to a rapid shift towards offshore exploration, an activity that presents a significant opportunity to vessel decommissioning service providers.
The segmentation of the oil and gas vessel decommissioning market can be done on the basis of decommissioning procedure and the geographical location of the major offshore oil and gas exploration sites. There are varied processes by which vessel decommissioning can be undertaken. Offshore vessel decommissioning depends on factors such as vessel capacity, operating weather conditions, construction and the product that the vessel handles. The decommissioning of vessels can be broadly classified into substructure, and equipment and topside decommissioning. Substructure decommissioning involves the total or the partial removal of the substructure from the vessel. Topside decommissioning involves recycling and reuse of the equipments and other parts from the vessel. The total decommissioning is the most preferred method and involves the removal of each and every asset from the vessel. The service companies take all the necessary steps from licensing to removal of equipments from the vessel. Partial decommissioning is done in cases where vessels are too complex to be dismantled. These vessels may constitute any concrete installations that are fixed to the hull.
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Regional segmentation of oil and gas vessel decommissioning market can be done by identifying the major ports where decommissioning is primarily performed. Major areas include the offshore areas around United States, Canada and Mexico in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico and North Sea in Northern European region. Offshore areas around China, Indonesia, and Malaysia form part of the Asia Pacific region and offshore areas around western Africa constitute Rest of the World.
Some of the major players in the vessel decommissioning market involve companies such as Wood Group, PSN Limited, AMEC, TSB Offshore, Inc., Derrick Services (UK) Ltd. and Worley Parsons Ltd.