The goal of this challenge is to find options to repurpose or upcycle these pipes into applications outside of hydrocarbon production. If you have actionable ideas for how to re-purpose these materials, we want to hear about them!
Woodside is Australia’s leading natural gas producer, committed to providing sustainable energy solutions. In the next few years, Woodside is planning to remove oil production infrastructure from an offshore oil and gas field that has ceased production: 26km of flexible flowlines (3400 tonnes) and 15km of umbilicals (310 tonnes). These are both flexible pipes, cylindrical pieces of equipment made of composite metals and polymers. As part of its commitment to providing sustainable energy solutions and creating opportunities for the communities where it operates, Woodside is focused on finding alternative applications to repurpose these materials. The large volume and condition of the materials being removed creates an opportunity for innovation.
Woodside Energy is sponsoring the Flexible Pipes Lifecycle Challenge with a total prize purse of $25,000 for up to 12 innovators with the most compelling ideas.
The removal of umbilicals and flexible pipelines will occur as a consequence of the end of the productive life of the oil or gas field, and is not triggered by the end of life of the components themselves. This challenge asks you to imagine how these pipes can be diverted from both ocean floor and landfill to be cost-effectively and safely repurposed.
A great deal of the industrialised world is operating in a linear economy in which raw natural resources are transformed into products that are designed under the assumption that they will ultimately become waste. Disposal of this waste may be associated with undesirable environmental outcomes. In contrast, efforts toward sustainability call for a circular economy that “employs reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to create a closed-loop system, minimizing the use of resource inputs and the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions.” In March 2020, Australia passed a waste and recycling law which places limits on the export of plastics for recycling from Australia. To avoid building new landfills to handle waste that formerly was exported, Australia must innovate including by redirecting waste streams by repurposing and/or building recycling capacity.
In keeping with its commitment to sustainable solutions, Woodside, Australia’s leading natural gas producer, is interested in options to redirect more than 3000 tonnes of flexible pipes towards alternative uses. These pipes are made of composite metals and polymers, and were used to transport water, oil, and gas from an offshore field that has ceased production. In total, 26km of flexible flowlines (3400 tonnes) and 15km of umbilicals (310 tonnes) will be removed in the next few years.
Woodside has experience in safe and reliable oilfield operations and therefore is not seeking solutions that suggest reusing these pipes in another oil and gas production project. Of great interest in this challenge, is the possibility of repurposing the components — high grade, corrosion-resistant steel tubes, copper, and polymers — for other applications outside of oil and gas production, thereby reducing the manufacture of new materials.
Woodside is seeking innovative, alternative uses for the materials that can be executed within 5 years after removal so as to divert them away from landfill. What are the opportunities to upcycle the flexible flowlines and umbilicals outside of an oil and gas application?