Summary of Seminar on “Waste management challenges and strategies for decommissioned offshore structures in ASEAN” on May 12th, 2022.

Skudai – The Safe & Sustainable Decommissioning of Offshore Structures (SEELOS) Project hosted the seminar of “Waste management challenges and strategies for decommissioned offshore structures in ASEAN” recently.

The list of speakers during that seminar (a representative from Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia), respectively.

The purpose of this event was to obtain views from the industry (oil and gas operators, recycling facilities, and waste management facilities) on their readiness to receive the expected rise in hazardous waste from decommissioning activities in ASEAN in the coming years. This will help make sure that the offshore decommissioning process in Southeast Asia is conducted safely and sustainably.

Professor Dr. Omar bin Yaakob, the Project Coordinator, opened with a briefing on the recycling of hazardous waste materials and highlighted some vital hazardous waste formations such as naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) and chemical additives from produced water, the waste that comes from drilling fluids, and also other industrial wastes that have been used in oil & gas structures.

Talking about best practices for dealing with hazardous waste from offshore Thailand to final disposal, Kitti Kamkaew, an Environmental Engineer under Asset Retirement from Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, Ltd., shared several available options for offshore platform and pipeline decommissioning. Furthermore, he described the flushing and cleaning procedure on the wellhead platform, which involves injecting wastewater into the depleted reservoir, but this is dependent on whether they have ownership of the oil platform. Otherwise, they must collect the waste and transport it to the shore, which is risky for safety reasons.

Meanwhile, Tisan Yoosook, Senior Project Engineer, PTTEP Energy Development Company Limited, highlighted the challenges in onshore decontamination activities and onshore management. He also said that dealing with waste during onshore decommissioning is hard, and he hoped to find a better way to cut down on the time and chemicals used during the cleaning process.

Dr. Sivapalan Kathiraval, one of the speakers from Kualiti Alam Sdn Bhd (Malaysia), informed that despite Malaysia’s lack of experience in handling decommissioning waste, 20 years of experience in handling the industrial hazardous materials would be an asset in handling the decommissioning waste. Kualiti Alam owns and operates one of the largest integrated waste management facilities in Southeast Asia.

Looking at the waste management experience in Indonesia, Elpido, General Manager of Technical and Operation, PT. Prasadha Pamunah Limbah Industri (PPLi), stated that they can treat the produced water from the oil & gas industry, and the procedure will depend on the wastewater characteristics.

On top of that, Vicha Noinivorn, Chief Production Manager of Unithai Shipyard & Engineering Ltd and United Waste Management, highlighted that there are possible green alternative ways for disseminating the hazardous ways. Regarding the removal of marine growth on offshore structures, he also said that it’s easier to do by using a hydro jet during offshore activity instead of using mechanical tools at onshore facilities.

To sum up, several procedures have been shared and highlighted for managing hazardous waste materials properly. Thailand is the most developed nation in the Southeast Asia region in terms of legislative decommissioning framework readiness, as it has some experience in handling hazardous waste management, and also the onshore decommissioning process for offshore structures. In addition, Thailand’s legislative framework and the readiness of the yard could be an example to neighbouring countries on how to perform best practices to make the decommissioning process safer in their own environments.

By Hanis Kamarudin ([email protected])

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