Well-Safe Solutions has been unveiled as a new player in the North Sea decommissioning arena.
The company, set up by Alasdair Locke, Mark Patterson, and Paul Warwick as major shareholders, said it would provide a ground-breaking approach to the safe and cost-efficient decommissioning of subsea wells.
The new start company, which aims to attract £200 million in investment and create 400 new jobs, would offer a specialist well abandonment service that should allow operators to meet the challenges and regulatory imperatives around decommissioning, while significantly reducing costs.
Well-Safe has secured funding from Scottish Enterprise, including investment from the Scottish Investment Bank and a regional selective assistance grant, in addition to the initial private funding provided by the major shareholders, which will enable the company to invest in assets and create jobs.
Well-Safe said it will be the first-of-its-kind tier one company with a complete P&A (plug and abandonment) capability from front-end engineering and design to project execution.
Executive Director, Mark Patterson, explained: “The liability for late life, non-producing assets remains with the operator. This liability can be reduced via well P&A operations, but the timing on the decision to make these wells safe is heavily influenced by cost and the need for a new approach, working hand-in-hand with major operators.
“The market dynamics in oil and gas have changed significantly. Before the collapse in oil price, operators were focused on maximising production, costs were very high and assets scarce and, with no real regulatory imperative, decommissioning was pushed back. Cost and safety are still paramount but operators are now having to face up to the well abandonment challenge. They need to prioritise decommissioning activity and, with an increasing stock of “shut-in” wells, more incentives, low asset utilisation and therefore lower rates, the economics for P&A have become more compelling.”
The new-start company claims it will take away the need for contracts with multiple service providers and instead offer a “one-stop-shop” for operators’ P&A requirements.
“As the focal point of contact for the operator, we will take care of the planning, logistics and execution through our experienced personnel and our dedicated rigs or vessels via one, single contract,” explained Mr Patterson. “By combining competitive asset day rates with long-term service and support contracts at a fixed day rate, we will be able to offer higher efficiency and utilisation at lower cost.”
Well-Safe is looking to acquire high quality assets to carry out well abandonment work, including a semi-submersible rig, jack-up rig and light-weight intervention vessel.
“As owners of these assets, we can guarantee they will not be diverted to other drilling operations but used and mobilised exclusively for P&A activity. With this certainty over availability, we can secure long-term commitments from operators and have full control over scheduling of long-term well P&A campaigns,” added Mr Patterson.