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Longevity and fate of structures left in place

Project Description


An exciting PhD opportunity to work with leading academics at the National Decommissioning Centre (NDC) and Chevron Corporation, to address some of the major questions around the environmental implications of decommissioning energy assets at a number of global locations and provide guidance for optimal decommissioning.

Chevron Corporation has recently entered into an Anchor partnership with the NDC to fund a portfolio of research projects that will focus on techniques for monitoring fish stocks around installations and pipelines as man-made marine habitats, the bioavailability of potential decommissioning-related substances, and modelling the longevity and eventual fate of offshore infrastructure left in situation. You can read more about the partnership from the Press release

The PhD student will be part of a multidisciplinary team based in the NDC’s Centre for Doctoral Training ( in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire, working alongside a cohort of PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, senior academics and industry colleagues, including Chevron personnel. In addition to receiving advanced training in engineering, the student will gain valuable knowledge and experience about the energy sector and the decommissioning space through close interactions with our industry experts.

The student will also benefit from undertaking courses that are part of the MSc in Decommissioning on a non-credit bearing basis. Specifically, the course which provides a detailed overview of the international and domestic legal regulatory framework pertaining to the decommissioning of offshore oil and gas installations.

An understanding of the long-term performance of derogated offshore infrastructure is of significant importance for planning the decommissioning options. This depends on several factors such as the marine environment, materials, coatings, structure type, the chemical composition of fluids interacting with the structures, and relevant regulatory guidance. The rate of damage (general corrosion or perforation) may have consequences for whether structures are left in-situ or could effectively be removed, and underlying consequences for potential contamination.

This PhD project aims to develop laboratory and modelling protocols for estimating the long-term performance of ageing structures, and consequences for decommissioning. The research will involve mechanistic, experimental and numerical studies at multiple scales, to be linked within a probabilistic framework. The project will rationally quantify relevant uncertainties in material, geometric and loading characteristics, with a view to implement time-dependant reliability principles. Reference shall be made to industry experience and capabilities to confirm feasibility of removal, if required. The final outcomes of the project are likely to be generalised for decommissioning projects from multiple geographical locations and depths.

Candidates should have a minimum of 2:1 MEng or MSc degree in aerospace/ civil/ materials/ marine/ mechanical/ offshore engineering.

Essential background/Knowledge: Knowledge of structural mechanics, numerical analysis, experimental modelling, and structural reliability.


Formal applications can be completed online:

• Apply for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering
• State the name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor AND the project title.

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

[1] Personal Statement
[2] All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
[3] Copy of your English language proficiency certificate (if relevant)
[4] 2 Academic References
[5] Detailed CV

The start date of the project will be as soon as possible. Should this studentship be awarded while the UK is still under emergency measures due to the coronavirus pandemic and it is not possible to bring the PhD student to the National Decommissioning Centre, there is the option to start the studentship via distance learning if necessary.

A co-supervisor from Chevron will be assigned prior to the commencement of the PhD project.

Funding Notes

This PhD studentship is funded by Chevron. Full funding is available to UK/EU candidates only. This includes Tuition Fees at UK/EU rates with an annual stipend which for 2019/2020 is £15,009, paid monthly in arrears.

*Overseas/international candidates can apply for this studentship but will have to find additional funding to cover the difference between overseas and home fees (approximately £15,680 per annum) for the duration of study (i.e. 3.5 years).

How good is research at Aberdeen University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 38.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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