Changed Oil & Gas Strategies for Changed Times: Why Life Extensions Are a Hot Topic

Our quick read blog introduces life extensions, explains the risks senior engineers plan for in a life extension and also explains how we can help create a safer, more efficient project.

For oil and gas industry professionals the concept of life extensions (ie, working to lengthen the working life of a facility beyond the originally planned duration) may well be a frequent topic of conversation at the moment.

After all, changes in the economic climate, volatile prices, rising construction costs and even new production methods mean an environment very different from the one envisioned when facilities were commissioned and their working life assessed.

Our quick read blog introduces life extensions, explains the risks senior engineers plan for in a life extension and also explains how we can help create a safer, more efficient project.


In the UK, the Financial Times reported that the Sizewell B nuclear plant may operate 20 years longer than planned.  Meanwhile, Repsol Norge has recently been given regulatory consent to extend the life of a North Sea field.

Plus, Bloomberg has covered the issue of oil infrastructure life extensions in its coverage of President Biden’s plans for the industry in the US.

Turning back to the industry itself, as early as 2020 some companies had already identified life extensions as a viable strategy even in the face of the widespread acceptance of decommissioning as the norm at that time.

The reason for the increase in the popularity of life extension projects in such a short time? The simple fact that changes in the costs, demands, methods and financial situation surrounding oil and gas production mean a calculation can be made to decide whether a benefit can be gained from continuing work at a facility originally slated for decommissioning.

paper authored by Brian G Hudson of ABB Engineering Services and available from the Oil & Gas IQ website looks at this situation in more detail and also lists the typical equipment deterioration factors to consider when assessing the cost and risks involved in a life extension project:

  • Corrosion: “Particularly those arising from changing operations and production profile”
  • Fatigue: “Particularly where corrosion and material loss results in stress increases”
  • Creep
  • Structural and fabric integrity
  • Wear out
  • Obsolescence
  • Thermal induced deterioration
  • Overstress as loadings change over time
  • Blockage and choking: “Resulting in dead legs for corrosion and overstress”
  • Explosion: “Which is an extreme view but often relates to inadequate management of risk from equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres”

The research also identifies a basic process for assessing equipment integrity as part of this process: 1, Review history; 2, Assess further life; 3, Identify actions and associated costs; 4, Develop cost summary; 5, Collect data.

Of course, the continued safe operation of a facility goes beyond the issue of equipment deterioration factors.

That’s why SA Equip clients working on life extension projects will also take a number of additional factors into account when looking at the bigger picture:

  • Safety management systems
  • Structural integrity
  • Fire and explosion
  • Mechanical integrity
  • Electrical and instrumentation
  • Inspections
  • Repair and Maintenance
  • Asset integrity
  • HSE risks

Brian G Hudson’s paper predicts that “a properly conducted asset life extension study will identify at least one ‘life threatening’ issue not covered by existing strategies and plans”: “Often these issues relate to perceived ‘non-core’ systems, such as HVAC, potable water or basic utilities. Failure of these systems can have as significant impact as other, more obvious issues presented by front line systems or equipment.”

Because the quality and effectiveness of life extension planning can have a huge impact on the safety of a facility, sourcing equipment purpose-made to create an efficient working environment with less risk for operatives carrying out work on the facility is vital. Read on to discover how we can help. 



Working safely and efficiently on-site has so many benefits for a life extension project. That’s we strongly recommend the hazardous area certified equipment to create the best possible working environment for operatives.

In particularly, the benefits of the following ATEX, IECEx, UKCA and INMETRO certified equipment should be assessed:

• Portable EX lighting: Look for plug & play capability with enhanced illumination levels, wide light output and overall cost-savings

• Portable EX power distribution: Features to seek out include the ability to choose from multiple configurations and practical considerations including shock absorbing performance and full fuse protection.

• Portable EX ventilation: Because the right rig can turn an inhospitable, dangerous environment into a safe workplace, find out how the right combination of hazardous-area certified fans, filtration units, ducting and accessories can be used on-site for increased safety and efficiency.

• Portable EX heating: Essential to maintain efficient operations and reduce the risk of equipment failure, high-quality EX heating equipment can protect compressors, pipework and pumps with full plug and plug capability.

For help to identify the ideal equipment selection for your life extension project simply contact an SA Equip EX equipment specialist for help. After all, SA Equip offers 100 years of pacesetting service and industry knowledge, with a foundation in the most extreme shipping and oil industry environments,  to clients worldwide.