The UK’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) now provides one centralised location for well data related to decommissioning.
The data, which is already publicly available, has been consolidated – for the first time – to help raise awareness about suspended wells in the UKCS which await decommissioning. The data will allow supply chain and operators to identify wells that would be suitable for decommissioning through a campaign approach – which involves aggregating individual projects together into a larger programme of work.
Campaign-based well decommissioning projects – as opposed to decommissioning wells individually – can result in substantial cost savings, especially when multiple operators engage together. It can allow mobilisation costs to be spread across several wells and the time it takes to do the work can be reduced through the gained operational efficiencies. A culture shift to campaign-based decommissioning has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of decommissioning overall, particularly in well decommissioning which accounts for nearly half of the total UKCS decommissioning cost estimate.
The data are as follows:
- List of suspended open water wells (exploration and appraisal wells) – including location and owner.
- List of suspended inactive wells (wells from fields which have ceased production) – including location, number of wells and operator.
As well as encouraging industry to develop campaign proposals the OGA will now work with stakeholders to target opportunities. This will see initial focus on the Central North Sea, where currently there is a high suspended well count, and the East Irish Sea, where mobilisation and transit costs are significantly higher.
Pauline Innes, Head of Decommissioning at the OGA, says, “There are hundreds of suspended wells across the UKCS that are ready to be decommissioned. By consolidating this data, we want to encourage companies to look at the opportunities for working together to get a sizeable well campaign going.”
Innes continues, “For us, the cost savings from a campaign approach are compelling, so we are now asking industry to respond by working on solutions to tackle the significant suspended well stock.”
Joe Leask, Decommissioning Manager at OGUK says, “Working together and combining similar work scopes in decommissioning makes sense. Over the near term there is a large quantity of wells to be decommissioned in this highly specialised and costly part of the decommissioning process.”
“Campaigning well decommissioning scopes helps us manage our costs more effectively and would help provide continuity of work for our hard-pressed supply chain. This is key if we are to continue to build and develop expertise which is highly exportable to other oil and gas provinces around the world some of which are also reaching maturity,” adds Leask.