Top decommissioning summit to hear how they raised the Costa Concordia

The company that raised the scuppered cruise-liner Costa Concordia, which was twice the weight of the Titanic when it hit rocks and foundered off the Italian coast in 2012, will explain how it was done at the 2015 Decommissioning & Abandonment Summit, 17-19 March in Houston.

Florida’s Titan Salvage, subsidiary of Crowley Maritime Corporation, was instrumental in uprighting the 114,000-ton ship – “parbuckling”, the procedure is called – so it could be floated to port and scrapped more than a year after it went down.

Christopher Peterson, vice president of Titan Salvage, will describe the multi-phased project, which was made more difficult by the fact that the 290-m-long ship had come to rest on its side suspended on two underwater rock ridges.

Peterson, along with former president of Shell, John D. Hofmeister, will speak at the gala dinner of the D&A Summit, which is the global decommissioning industry’s largest information sharing and business development event.

Other case studies presented at the Summit include the decommissioning and reefing of Anadarko’s Red Hawk spar, the deepest floating production unit ever to be decommissioned in the Gulf of Mexico and the first spar ever to be reefed.

“We expect these presentations to be inspirational for the global industry as decommissioning enters a new phase,” said industry analyst Philip Chadney, of the Summit organizer, DecomWorld. “We will see projects in deeper water and involving new types of structures as major markets such as the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea mature, and as emerging markets such as Asia-Pacific come on line.”

Now in its seventh year, the Summit is attracting a noticeably more senior audience, with record numbers of decommissioning executives at the senior VP level with global remits from the super-major and major operators, and from national oil companies (NOCs), Chadney said.

“The low oil price is causing a global revenue crunch, which is prompting a re-ordering of priorities at the majors and NOCs,” said Chadney. “There is a view now that with downward pressure on oilfield services costs and higher availability of rigs, equipment and people, the time may be right to bring decommissioning campaigns forward.” Workshop presenters include senior executives from operators BP, Shell, Chevron, BHP Billiton, Marathon and Talisman, among others. International leaders have been confirmed, from South Africa’s NOC, PetroSA, and the Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo).

The Summit will once again be key in setting the year’s agenda in regulatory matters, with Susan Green, deputy regional supervisor for field operations at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), delivering one of the keynote addresses.

Green will provide a crucial update on the regulator’s priorities at a time when, despite the fall in oil prices, production is expanding in the deepwater and ultra-deepwater Gulf of Mexico. According to the latest figures from BSEE, there are now 1,010 idle wells in the Gulf and 270 idle platforms.

Also speaking on regulatory matters will be Angie Gobert, chief of BSEE’s Pipeline Section, and Donna Dixon, program manager, Office of Risk Management, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Providing an international perspective will be Richard Brooks, Decommissioning Policy Advisor for the UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change.

Representatives from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will provide updates on the two states’ artificial reefs programs.

More than 700 offshore, decommissioning, abandonment and late life executives and more than 60 leading exhibitors from across the world will be attending the Summit. For more information, visit:

Photograph: The Costa Concordia, during salvage operations at Isola del Giglio, Italy (Disma Ballabio/Wikimedia Commons)