The primary objective of the Partner Group is to support and guide the research and development (R&D) programme of the National Decommissioning Centre (NDC) to ensure alignment with industry requirements and priorities. The Partner Group will also review the progress of ongoing R&D projects, review new project proposals, and share experience to identify opportunities for collaborative support.

The Partner Group acts in an advisory capacity only.  In establishing the Partner Group, the NDC recognises the value of the advice and perspective offered by external stakeholders and will strive to take this advice into consideration when conducting its business in alignment with its strategic policies, plans, and practices.


Professor Richard Neilson is Director of the National Decommissioning Centre and a Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of Aberdeen.  He has 31 years’ experience in engineering research and development within the University sector, during which he spent four years part-time industrial secondment to an oil services company.    He has led or had substantial involvement in 11 major joint industry/University projects and has initiated or led the development of 3 major industry focused research/knowledge exchange centres (the Scottish Sensor Systems Centre, the Oil and Gas Innovation Centre and the most recently the NDC).  He has been researching in aspects of decommissioning since 2008 and was one of the instigators of the MSc in Decommissioning run by the University.

Ricky Thomson is Decommissioning Manager of Offshore Energies UK (OEUK).  Ricky joined OEUK from Houston where he was Project Manager/Decommissioning Manager for OXY Gulf of Mexico as well as a consultant for OXY’s Low Carbon Venture/Enhanced Oil Recovery work.  He has 20 years’ experience in the energy sector in the engineering and management of EPCIC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Installation & Commissioning), PMC (Project Management Contract) services for both operating and contracting companies worldwide.  Ricky’s expertise covers decommissioning areas including subsea (deep & shallow) as well as enhanced oil recovery, CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilisation & Storage), installation of subsea/fixed and floating systems plus IMR (Inspection, Maintenance & Repair) disciplines.  Ricky has worked in a multitude of locations worldwide including Middle East, United Kingdom, Australia, America and South East Asia. Ricky is a Chartered Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and recently held the post of Chairman of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in Texas.  He is also a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

Peter Oliver is Senior Staff Environmental Scientist, Environmental Technology Unit, Chevron Energy Technology Company a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., Aberdeen. Peter has 25 years of experience working in Environmental Management, EIA and HES supporting all aspects of oil and gas exploration, operations and drilling. Peter joined Chevron in 1999 and held environmental and HES Leadership roles in Chevron’s businesses in the UK, Angola and the USA. Since 2016, Peter has been part of Chevron’s UK General Technology Centre based in Aberdeen. His work involves provision of strategic and technical expertise for Chevron’s Corporate HES initiatives and its worldwide businesses. A particular focus of Peter’s work is decommissioning environmental management and technology development. Peter is a Vice Chair of the International Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) Environment Committee and represents Chevron on the UK Natural Environment Research Council Innovation Programme in Oil and Gas. Prior to Chevron, Peter worked as an Environmental Consultant and as an Environmental Advisor for AMEC. Peter is a Full Member of the UK Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment and is a Chartered Environmentalist.

Sam Long is CEO of Decom North Sea.   Based in Aberdeen, UK, Sam has 22+ years of experience in the international Oil and Gas industry, working for major service and engineering companies in operations and maintenance, engineering and construction, decommissioning and downhole services. Previous employers include Aker Solutions, Baker Hughes, Petrofac and Wood.  Decommissioning, well abandonment and late life asset management have been common themes throughout this period, either from a business development, studies and or execution view. With a background in environmental management Sam is also focused on the need to decarbonize upstream oil and gas and other elements of the energy system. Bringing these together at Decom North Sea, Sam has both a personal and professional ambition to create sustainable, long term and cost-effective solutions for end-of-life challenges in the energy industry.  Sam holds an MBA, is Chair of Climate Ready Aberdeenshire and is a runner, cyclist, and coach, as well as being a father and husband.

Heather Barton is Cross-Industry Learning Manager at the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).  Within the NDA Heather leads and implements the NDA’s approach to learning across different sectors and industries on decommissioning good practices, emerging themes, industry developments and innovations.  This is to ensure that the UK’s nuclear decommissioning is regarded as world leading.  Her work extends to project maturation tools a with a focus on improving costing and liability estimates.  As a nuclear professional with over 20 years in the nuclear industry Heather has experience at working on operational nuclear power plants in both technical and leadership roles with a bias towards radiological protection and radioactive waste management.  A nuclear physicist by background, Heather is a Fellow of the Nuclear Institute (FNucI) and a Charted Scientist (CSci).

Calum Watson is a Project Manager at Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC). Biography to follow.