Collaborative Tool Helps Companies Plan Decommissioning, Share Lessons Learned

Decom North Sea has developed the Late Life Planning Portal system, a web-based information portal, to capture tools that add value as well as good practices and lessons learned from the execution of decommissioning projects.

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The decommissioning of offshore oil and gas facilities is a key aspect of their life cycle. Industry member organization Decom North Sea has developed a web-based information portal to capture tools that add value while capturing good practices and lessons learned from the execution of decommissioning projects. Known as the Late Life Planning Portal (L2P2), the system was launched in 2016 and is likely to become the sole repository of information on the decommissioning of offshore oil and gas facilities.


Decom North Sea is a UK-based member organization with a focus on the management of assets in late life and into decommissioning.

As a not-for-profit organization, Decom North Sea exists to enhance knowledge transfer from operators and across-the-industry supply-chain companies and facilitate cooperative activities that will minimize decommissioning costs. Its L2P2 system has evolved from an idea into what has become an industry-leading information center.

A leading North Sea operator believed that the standard project management process (i.e., appraise, select, define, execute) did not fit well with its decommissioning program because many of these project management elements occurred at significantly different times during the project. To improve this process, the operator added a further “retire” phase and, within this phase, developed several decision gates.

To explore the potential of this process further, a workgroup was formed with members from oil and gas operators, supply chain companies, and regulators. The workgroup defined a rudimentary time-based matrix that was the basis for what would become the L2P2 portal.

Initially, the L2P2 website was a one-dimensional grid, with explanations of key considerations that should be addressed across the timeline from 10 years before cessation of production, across the entire decommissioning work breakdown structure, to removal, site remediation, and ongoing monitoring.

The workgroup continued to develop a multilayered matrix that it believed could be a center point for industry to share ideas, good practices, and lessons learned. But the team realized that this would be of value only if all of the industry could contribute and access the information free of barriers or charge.

The workgroup approached Decom North Sea to take the concept and information developed by the team and implement it. The Decom North Sea board of directors instantly saw the potential that such a portal could offer.

The keys to success were quickly established as

  • Access to L2P2 would be free and available for anyone to contribute and use.

  • A governance process would be established to ensure only quality input was accepted into the portal.

A main principle of L2P2 is to ensure that it can evolve over time as the industry better understands how the system can provide benefit. With the L2P2 portal, the industry has created the first, free-for-all single-point-access tool built with industry knowledge and a scalable platform that allows it to evolve.

Application of L2P2 and Its Processes

Outline. The L2P2 portal has been designed to guide different functions within organizations through a journey from late life into commencement of offshore decommissioning.

The Matrix. The concept of L2P2 is based on a simple matrix model (Fig. 1), consisting of activities and key decisions for an oil and gas asset from late-life operations through to the end of production and decommissioning.

Use of L2P2. Taking into account both the work breakdown structure and the timeline, the users of the L2P2 determine either the row, column, or intersection that best applies to the information sought. Clicking on that will provide access to information and tools that relate to the area of interest.

Fig. 1—L2P2 matrix. ARO = asset retirement obligation; COP = cessation of production.

The Aims of L2P2

With each of the rows, columns, or intersections, L2P2 aims to provide access to guidance, proven tools and templates, and other relevant information that is ready to be adapted and used, as well as lessons learned, thereby helping to drive continuous improvement.

In essence, L2P2

  • Promotes a common language between supply and demand
  • Identifies gaps in the supply-chain capability
  • Enables identification of research and development focus areas

Lessons Learned

A key component of L2P2 is the ability to upload key lessons learned on a project with the objective of passing this lesson on to another. In entering a lesson into L2P2, participants are encouraged to publicize their experiences in such a way that others can learn the best approaches, what to avoid, and what to plan for. Recording areas of improvement is as important as recording what went well.

L2P2 Governance

Various roles are associated with the governance of L2P2, and all are important in ensuring that the content of the system is fit-for-purpose and of an acceptable quality. The key roles are defined as follows.

Contributor. This is the primary role in the entire system. Without contributors, there would be no L2P2. The offering of content by contributors ideally should be done online by use of the L2P2 portal. This will initiate the work flow of review, approval, and publication. The role of the contributor is to self-evaluate the content for appropriateness, accuracy, and value before submitting it to the portal. When contributing tools, logos and other identifications should be eliminated and the appropriate template used if possible.

Champion. The work-stream champion is the designated party responsible for vetting and managing the content of a specific work stream. A work stream is one of the 10 horizontal work areas within the overall L2P2 portal matrix. Champions are designated as “primary” or “secondary.” Both are responsible for reviewing, maintaining, and updating the content of each work stream, including narratives, tools, and examples. Primary champions, however, are accountable for the work stream to which they are assigned.

Each champion is also responsible for reviewing and offering comment on content from other work streams, offered for review by fellow champions and other subject-matter experts. To ensure the quality of tools, work-stream champions may seek opinions from other work-stream champions and subject-matter experts when developing, accepting, or rejecting tools.

L2P2 Host. The L2P2 host is the custodian of the website and has the responsibility of maintaining the web-based L2P2 site and publishing approved tools to the portal.

Steering Committee. The steering committee will convene regularly, and its primary function is to provide a support and feedback network for users, champions, and the host.

Audit Committee. The audit committee will convene periodically, and its role is to audit randomly selected tools and review them for quality. The audit committee will provide feedback on its findings to the steering committee.


L2P2 is an example of genuine collaboration, being developed by the industry and for the industry with the objective of sharing information and setting a benchmark in this respect. It has been proposed, designed, and built entirely by industry professionals.

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper OTC 27646, “Transforming Decommissioning Planning,” by Roger Esson, Decom North Sea, prepared for the 2017 Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, 1–4 May. The paper has not been peer-reviewed.