Equipment used on a production facility can be highly variable. This variability exists due to the type and volume of production, quality of the product, midstream gatherer or transporter requirements, regulatory considerations and land use issues. Basic equipment includes tanks, vaults/sumps, a wide variety of separators, gas treatment, gas compression, metering and measurement devices, electrical controls, scrubbers, flaring or other gas control mechanisms, and pipelines.
Issues to consider during production facility closure includes the removal and final dispensation of equipment and materials from the location. For smaller locations, these issues may be straight forward. Larger and more complex facilities may generate significant amounts of waste and present serious environmental and safety threats, and therefore, may require detailed planning. However, the basic steps include:
- Removal of equipment which may include the disposal, salvage, reconditioning for reuse or sending to scrap metal facility. Fluids, scale and sludge should be removed prior to moving the equipment.
- The proper abandonment of flowlines and pipelines is also paramount. Pipeline abandonment requirements may include removal or abandonment in place. For in-place abandonment the following tasks, at a minimum, should be completed.
- Purge fluids from the pipeline.
- Deplete the pressure.
- Seal the ends.
- Remove the pipeline risers or cut and cap below ground.
- In addition to removing production equipment site closure can also generate other waste materials such as concrete, wood, rubbish, scrap metal, hoses, electrical components and used chemicals.
- In the past burning or burial of inert wastes and rubbish was a widespread practice. However, it is no longer acceptable in most areas and will, if allowed, require specific approval from the local waste management agency and the property owner.