in Space

BMT selected by ESA to lead innovative study

Posted 1 February 2021 · Add Comment

BMT has been awarded a project by the European Space Agency (ESA) to assess the feasibility of using space-based data to support the decommissioning of energy assets.

Image courtesy BMT / copyright Shutterstock

The decommissioning of all energy assets, such as oil and gas platforms and wind farms, is currently a pertinent issue worldwide. Oil and gas decommissioning activities are ramping up due to installations developed from the 1970s onward reaching their end of life. The wind farm decommissioning market is also emerging, as assets installed in the 1990s and early 2000s start to approach their end-of-life phase.

Decommissioning activities need to be carefully handled to minimise environmental impact as they create operational and financial risk for the asset owner.  Earth observation data from satellites can play a key role in the decommissioning activity, providing regional overview of the maritime environment and allowing operational data from decommissioning teams in the field to be interrogated in real-time.  This presents exciting opportunities for the European industry to create new commercial decommissioning solutions enabled by space data and through collaboration with decommissioning sector knowledge industry leaders.

The study will look to provide accurate information relating to hazards such as sea and weather conditions, maritime traffic and environmental pollution.  It will enable a reduction in the cost of energy asset decommissioning by providing improved scenario planning in advance of decommissioning, as well as minimising/optimising vessel usage resulting in a reduction in fuel usage and therefore reduced Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

The results of the technical feasibility study will establish the roadmap for service implementation through follow-on demonstration projects.

This activity is funded through the UK Space Agency’s contribution to ESA’s Space Solutions programme (

Matthew Roberts, Managing Director, BMT Environment UK, commented: “BMT is proud to have been selected to deliver this ESA project with our partners 4 Earth Intelligence (4EI). Our knowledge of solving complex engineering challenges in the marine environment, coupled with extensive experience of offering environmental support to the UK energy sector, we are well positioned to work with 4EI’s expertise in earth observation data analysis and services to deliver such a ground-breaking feasibility study in support of the offshore decommissioning industry.”

The view expressed above can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency or the UK Space Agency.


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