Decom Firm Well-Safe Marks First Anniversary

Well-Safe Solutions is marking its one year anniversary with news that it’s about to acquire its first asset, is tendering for major P&A projects and has increased its headcount to 35.

In just over 12 months, the Aberdeen-based well abandonment specialist has amassed the largest concentration of decommissioning expertise in the oil and gas industry. The company now boasts in excess of 400 wells worth of experience among its workforce.

Launched in August 2017 with the vision to become a tier one decommissioning company, Well-Safe said it is well on its way to realising its ambition, having set up five P&A Clubs which reportedly offer a ground-breaking approach to the safe and cost-efficient decommissioning of subsea and onshore wells.

Phil Milton, chief executive of Well-Safe, said: “It’s been a tremendous first year for us. The positive response to our P&A Clubs has been underlined by invitations to tender for significant P&A contracts for both onshore and offshore wells. In anticipation of these, we’ve been recruiting some of the best and most experienced people in the industry to create a real centre of excellence in P&A and now have what we believe is the biggest pool of well P&A expertise in the North Sea. This has enabled us to secure work in developing decommissioning strategies, providing engineering consultancy in relation to decommissioning and in providing personnel offshore for ongoing P&A projects.

“The next step for us is to have our own dedicated bespoke P&A assets, kitted-out and mobilised exclusively for P&A activity. We’ve been looking at-high quality onshore land rigs, two semi-submersibles and potentially two jack-up rigs as well as a light intervention mono hull vessels and support vessels to allow us to deliver the complete P&A solution.

“We have continued to make great progress with our asset acquisition plan and are working closely with the current owners of various marine assets to shape a framework that will work for all parties.”

Expenditure on decommissioning activity in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) to 2025 is forecast to be £17 billion of which £8.3 billion is associated with well abandonment activities. Operators are forecasting £1.8billion in decommissioning spend in 2018 alone. With well abandonment accounting for 49% of the total decommissioning spend and subsea well abandonment in the UKCS being the highest cost, a new approach must be adopted in this area of decommissioning if the industry is to deliver the 35% cost reduction desired by the Oil & Gas Authority.

The P&A club concept is a new open and transparent incentivised commercial model that tackles costly and complex late-life activity. It helps operators meet the challenges and regulatory imperatives around the plug and abandonment of wells in a way that is designed to reduce costs by 35% through a campaign-based approach. By becoming a member of Well-Safe’s P&A club and adding their well stock into the club, operators can spread the risk and cost of plugging and abandoning wells with others in the club and use economies of scale to safely remove hundreds of wells rather than focusing on individual wells, or a smaller numbers of wells. Well-Safe’s five different clubs are designed around the asset types: onshore, jack-ups, semi-submersibles, well intervention vessels and deepwater vessels.

Milton added: “Decommissioning is often seen as the end of the road, but it’s just a part of the on-going lifecycle and by reducing liabilities and direct costs when shutting down uneconomic wells, there is more money to invest in exploiting other fields. We’re not only helping to stimulate the decommissioning sector but also giving a big boost to companies who want to invest more money on development and production growth opportunities.”

Well-Safe is on target to go fully operational in late 2019, or even earlier, providing the operators sign up with commitments to well stock to support the P&A clubs.

In addition to their head-quarters in Aberdeen, Well-Safe has secured a 40,000sq ft marine and logistics base in Dundee.

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