Offshore decommissioning firm Well-Safe Solutions and oil firm Apache Corporation have signed a multi-year framework agreement to plug and abandon wells in the North Sea.
The deal provides Apache with access to Well-Safe Solutions' decommissioning rigs, the Well-Safe Defender and Well-Safe Guardian, to plug and abandon its wells.
Chris Hay, Director of Strategy and Business Development at Well-Safe Solutions, said: “We are ready to assist Apache with their well decommissioning requirements, affording them the flexibility to book their wells into our campaigns when required.
“Our multi-well, multi-operator P&A Clubs give our clients cost certainty and leverage the cumulative experience gained by our specialist decommissioning teams on both assets across hundreds of wells to date.
“This ‘learning curve’ of knowledge, built up through our exclusive focus on well decommissioning operations, enables clients to reap the benefits of scope aggregation when adding a number of wells – or even a single well – to a campaign.
“By building a strong track record solely in well plug and abandonment operations, instead of continually switching between drilling and decommissioning, the cumulative experience gained ensures the delivery of safe and efficient operations.”
According to the North Sea Transition Authority, as cited by Well-Safe Solutions, it takes 31 days on average to decommission a subsea well from a North Sea rig.
"As an example, Well-Safe Solutions’ practical experience on four North Sea wells during summer 2022 is comfortably within the top P25 performance quartile of this average, with the shortest well decommissioning window [being] 7.9 days and the longest just 15.5 days," Well Safe Solutions said.
Separate to the frame agreement signed by both companies, Apache has secured a slot for Well-Safe Solutions to plug and abandon subsea wells in the UK Continental Shelf. This work will start in 2024 as part of a continuous campaign.
"The P&A Club’s sharp focus on operational and cost efficiency aligns with industry regulator the North Sea Transition Authority’s target to reduce the cost of decommissioning upstream oil and gas infrastructure in the UKCS by 35% by the end of 2022," Well-Safe Solutions said.
Pauline Innes, North Sea Transition Authority Director of Decommissioning, said: “There are hundreds of suspended wells across the UKCS that are ready to be decommissioned and impressive cost savings can be achieved from taking a campaign approach to the work.
“We encourage every operator to look at available opportunities to decommission and adopt the most efficient, value-for-money option.”
Well-Safe Solutions owns three offshore decommissioning rigs in its fleet, all three converted from offshore oil and gas drilling rigs - two semi-submersible units and one jack-up unit.
The company last June bought the Well-Safe Defender (ex-WilPhoenix) from Awilco Drilling. The rig is the second semi-submersible rig in its fleet after the company in 2019 bought the Ocean Guardian semi-submersible drilling unit from Diamond Offshore in 2019 and converted it into a plugging and abandonment rig. The company also has a jack-up unit - the Well-Safe Protector- bought from Seadrill in 2020.
In December 2022, the Well-Safe Protector jack-up mobilized for Ithaca Energy following an extensive well P&A refit. Once complete, it will move directly to its next scope for Neptune Energy later in 2023 after securing this contract in September 2022.