Decommissioning in offshore engineering


Decommissioning is an emerging global issue for the offshore oil and gas industry and the Australian Government has identified decommissioning as an essential operation requiring scientific research and technical innovation. The current cost of decommissioning Australia’s oil and gas infrastructure is estimated at more than $26 billion over the next 50 years. With more than 100 platforms and subsea structures located in pristine Australian waters, many offshore decommissioning projects are on the near to medium-term horizon.

Offshore decommissioning is complex, challenging and costly. We are carrying out fundamental research and providing guidelines for engineers to apply in offshore operations, which is expected to contribute to Australia’s potential to become a leader in end of life-cycle asset management, further building on the experience in offshore developments.


Safe and economical retrieval of subsea structures, some of which have been sitting on the seabed for decades, involve significant risks and challenges. Almost two thirds of the decommissioning costs are spent on the removal process. We are a team who have been conducting research in offshore engineering, especially concentrating on advancing the scientific understanding of lifting objects off seabed. We aim to deliver innovative and transformative offshore decommissioning solutions in order to manage the extraction operation safely and economically.

Key Outcomes

We have trained three PhD students (one is now an academic in HongKong polytechnic university; one works in WA offshore industry; the other one is to complete in 2023). We have published five journal papers, 5 conference papers and another six journal papers under review. We have developed a suite of soil-structure interface models that can be used to model object lifting from seabed.

Research Team and Contact Person

CIs: Yinghui Tian; Mark Cassidy and Christophe Gaudin (UWA)

PhD Students: Xiaojun Li and Maozhu Peng (completed); Sen Mei

Academic visitor: Jie Ren

Existing grant

ARC Discovery Projects (DP190103315) Lifting objects off the seabed

Centrifuge test foundation models
Effect of perforation