NPD skeptical of plugging proposal

Reusing wells on the Norwegian shelf can be good business. This is why the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) is skeptical of the proposal to plug wells as a measure to keep drilling rigs in activity.

As resource steward, the NPD wants the industry to use available rig capacity to drill new profitable wells and is considering reuse of existing wells to avoid declining production on existing fields. Multiple reuse methods are used to produce remaining resources; here it is important for decisions concerning potential plugging to be well-reasoned and long-term.

The NPD wants to stimulate the licensees to utilize these opportunities for improved recovery on the fields. It is important that the considerable investments represented by a well, are utilized as long as they are profitable in a long-term perspective.

The NPD's figures show that there are about 2200 wellbores in use on producing fields. The wells are used to produce oil and gas or to inject water and gas in order to drain reservoirs in the best possible manner.

Based on reported figures, the NPD has estimated that about forty to fifty wells are scheduled to be plugged each year over the next few years. Most of these wells are plugged from fixed facilities. The figures change continuously as new wells are drilled and others are plugged. The licensees on the various fields are responsible for the wells and have the overview of their own fields.

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