The UK's Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) has launched its first "Call for Ideas," inviting innovative technology concepts and ideas to transform the way that offshore oil and gas wells are plugged and abandoned.
The OGTC is planning to invest about US$1.29 million (£1 million) to fund a range of projects resulting from the call. The aim is to reduce the cost of well plugging and abandonment.
Over the next decade, 1400 wells are forecast to be abandoned on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) alone, at a cost of about $9.05 billion (£7 billion), a large chunk of which will be borne by UK tax payers.
Well plug and abandonment (P&A) activity represents ~45% of projected total decommissioning costs
According to the Oil and Gas Authority, there are about 3650 development wells on the UKCS to be plugged and abandoned as well as many partially suspended or partially abandoned wells that require final abandonment. Based on the current number of wells (2015) the estimated cost of P&A is ca. $24.5 billion (£19 billion), says the OGA.
The OGTC says it is looking for innovative concepts that will have a material impact in three areas: modelling the probability of hydrocarbon flow to surface; verification of permanent barriers; and new and alternative barriers.
Malcolm Banks, Well Construction Solution Centre Manager at the Oil & Gas Technology Centre said:
“Reducing the costs of drilling, maintaining and abandoning wells is key priority for the Oil & Gas Technology Centre. A large proportion of these costs are driven by the need for drilling rig-based activities. Therefore, a significant opportunity exists to significantly reduce well plug and abandonment costs, and thus total decommissioning costs, through ‘rigless’ methodologies.“
Submissions can be made from 1 May to 11 June through the OGTC's website - www.theogtc.com/ideas - where full details of process are available.
Successful organizations will receive professional guidance, funding, and support to develop their idea towards the next stage of development.
The Calls for Ideas process is part of the Oil & Gas Technology Centre’s Open Innovation Program which helps the Centre to identify, accelerate and deploy innovative technologies to unlock the full potential of the UK North Sea.