Early preparations for Barrow Island decommissioning

World’s largest decommissioning project will take place off WA
Date: Monday, 11 December 2023

One of the world’s largest petroleum decommissioning projects will soon be taking place approximately 70 kilometres off Western Australia’s coast on Barrow Island, as the Barrow Island Joint Venture (known as WA Oil) prepares to permanently dismantle and seal 888 wells on the island.

Production from this oil field commenced in 1966 and has yielded 336 million barrels of oil and 570 million cubic meters of gas. With the field and assets nearing end of life, production is expected to cease from 2025.

DEMIRS is committed to building a responsible and sustainable resources sector by working with industry to improve the decommissioning of petroleum sites. The department’s Petroleum and Energy Compliance Branch (PECB) has regular meetings with Chevron to ensure the process is collaborative and the entities have been working together to streamline submission of large-scale applications.

A site visit also enhanced PECB’s understanding of the decommissioning scope and readiness for timely application evaluations. Further inspections are scheduled to take place in the near future, with annual inspections to follow.

Chevron has initiated partial decommissioning by plugging inactive wells, however, the substantive decommissioning efforts are set to start in early 2025. A phased decommissioning strategy will be tailored to the nine different well categories, each with unique requirements. Trials are in progress, with Chevron investigating the viability of new decommissioning technologies which, if successful, could be applied to the remaining wells.