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Managing Corrosion In Decommissioned And Mothballed Assets

16 Jul

The current state of the industry is fragile, the resilience of the industry’s supply chain is becoming a true challenge considering the frequent patterns of high supply/low demand in the last few years and the possible continuation of this situation to unforeseen future due to Covid-19.

Organizations have to make some vital decisions during these challenging times of high uncertainties. These decisions may involve early decommissioning of assets, which are no longer economically feasible, or minimizing operations expenditure by mothballing some of their facilities.

Various aspects such as the market forecast, available technologies, costs and capabilities are decisive for the selection process. In this article, three models have been proposed as possible scenarios to support a prolonged shutdown, long term decommissioning program or immediate decommissioning operations.

  • Model 1: Mothballing until facility operation can resume
  • Model 2: Mothballing until decommissioning operations can commence
  • Model 3: Proceed directly to formal decommissioning operations

Irrespective of the chosen model, there are several requirements that must be properly satisfied to achieve the objectives intended from the selected model. The facility’s preservation process, when and where implemented, should achieve the highest practicable standards of safety, whilst at the same time realizing an optimal balance of technical, environmental, societal, and economic standards. These processes will differ from one model to another.


For Model 1 and 2, a prolonged mothballing is expected until the market conditions are feasible to either resume production or to secure the necessary funds to commence decommissioning operations. In both situations, the physical condition of the facility has to be preserved through a robust mothballing program. This is to ensure the facilities are readily available if operations should resume or disassembling to commence.

Mothballed facilities are normally subject to stagnant conditions, manifesting itself as a giant deadleg, which can easily promote a conducive environment for accelerated corrosion growth if proper procedures are not followed. Hence, a prudent attention should be given to the establishment of a robust mothballing procedure to ensure the integrity of the facility is preserved during the mothballing period. The key elements of the mothballing program is described as follows:

mothballing assets


Industrial firms have a much broader selection of choices about decommissioning approaches than they expect. Key aspects such as described below should be examined prior to any decision made regarding the decommissioning approach to be adopted.

  • Determine any potential further uses for the facilities (i.e. jacket structures, topsides structures, onshore plant structures, offshore and onshore process plant and all associated appurtenances) either in-situ or at other potential locations across the globe

  • Examine issues associated with the full removal of the installation(s) to achieve a clear seabed or to return onshore land back to green-field use

  • Undertake a specific process of comparative assessment to evaluate complete asset removal against potential alternative options such as partial removal, toppling at site etc.; such considerations however are unique to jacket structures and will not apply to other elements of the decommissioning scope

  • Evaluate all viable and alternative options for decommissioning and any associated regulatory obligations that are pertaining thereto

  • Understand certain areas of decommissioning which may be universally acknowledged as challenging

Hence, a standardized approach for a decommissioning program has to be established through a suite of detailed assessments as part of this process. The main assessments which have to be considered during the selection process are as follows:



AIE is actively working across different industry sectors in the provision of mothballing, decommissioning and lifetime extension consultancy services. We have a highly skilled workforce which possess the requisite knowledge and experience in this specialized area of operations. We are able to provide a complete service solution for our clients.

If you would like to further understand how our corrosion management team can support your corrosion assessment and preservation requirements, please visit our contact us page.

Providing a holistic approach for corrosion, chemical and flow assurance management, our market leading software, Veracity CCM enables operators to manage their key threats more effectively thereby maintaining plant up-time whilst reducing unplanned maintenance and costly repairs. Veracity CCM can be also utilized to manage mothballing campaigns and define corrosion control matrices covering corrosion monitoring activities and associated key performance indicators.

To learn more about Veracity CCM, click here.

To request a free demo, contact us.

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