Contract Win – Repsol Sinopec Buchan and Hannay Well Decommissioning

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Repsol Sinopec Drives Transformational Change in Well Decommissioning Commercial Models


Repsol Sinopec has awarded a multi-million-pound contract to Aberdeen-based Well-Safe Solutions to execute the decommissioning of all wells in its Buchan and Hannay fields.

The contract is the first fully-inclusive well decommissioning contract of its kind and enables Repsol Sinopec and Well-Safe Solutions to manage efficiencies, knowledge and cost.  The schedule control provided as part of this contract enables Well-Safe to deliver its Plug & Abandon (P&A) Club approach helping to deliver a campaign-based approach aligned with the OGA Decommissioning Strategy.

The commercial model represents a step-change from a conventional transactional approach to an outcome-oriented model, empowering the supply chain to deliver the most innovative and efficient solution with a fair shared risk-management philosophy within the contract.

This shift in mind-set has taken considerable time and collaborative effort by both Repsol Sinopec and the supply chain in evolving, concluding and assuring the tender process for this contract.

The contract has been welcomed by OGUK and The Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) as a strong example of collaboration, campaigning and innovation.

José Luis Muñoz, Repsol Sinopec’s Chief Executive Officer, commented today:

“There are 14 subsea wells in the Buchan and Hannay fields that require decommissioning as part of planned activities.  We are pleased to appoint the contract for this work to Well-Safe Solutions, who will take a campaign approach to the work, recognising that schedule flexibility is key to driving efficiency.

“Collaboration has been key to achieving a solution that enables innovation and maximises efficient use of resources, whilst minimising the carbon footprint of the project.  We are pleased the contract has been awarded to an Aberdeen-based company – the agreement will exceed the UK local content target as set in the North Sea Transition deal, of over 50% for decommissioning projects.”

Luis Batalla, Repsol Sinopec’s Head of Decommissioning said:

“The work to be delivered by Well-Safe Solutions aligns with our decommissioning strategy, which is focused on efficiency, performance management, innovative contracting models, technology development and fit for purpose design.  All project delivery will be coordinated and managed by Well-Safe Solutions in accordance with the contract; with Repsol Sinopec retaining oversight of the technical delivery of the project as the well operator.”


Well-Safe Solutions will utilise its purpose-built decommissioning unit specifically designed for decommissioning of subsea wells, the Well-Safe Guardian.  It will be the first time it has deployed its Dive System and Subsea Modular Decommissioning Riser Technology (SMART) system onboard the semi-submersible unit.  The offshore well decommissioning activities are planned to commence in 2022.

Decommissioning in the Buchan and Hannay fields commenced in 2017 with the off-station and onshore recycling of the Buchan Alpha platform, which was completed at Dales Voe in  Lerwick Shetland, after ceasing production as planned in 2017 – after 36 years and almost 150mm barrels of oil produced. The decommissioning and recycling of the Buchan and Hannay Subsea Infrastructure commenced with pre-works in 2019 with final completion of this scope currently ongoing and expected to finish by Q4 2021.

Phil Milton, Chief Executive Officer at Well-Safe Solutions, said:

“This is a fantastic achievement for Well-Safe Solutions. Our team has worked closely with the team at Repsol Sinopec to develop a contracting delivery model that enables this project to be delivered in a manner that aligns with Repsol Sinopec’s decommissioning strategy, OGA’s decommissioning strategy and Well-Safe’s P&A Club approach. With complete schedule control this enables us to optimise our efficiencies, retain learnings and deliver a multi-operator, multi-well campaign.”

Pauline Innes, Head of Decommissioning at the Oil and Gas Authority, said:

“The OGA congratulates Repsol Sinopec Resources UK and Well-Safe Solutions on this ground-breaking agreement, which will provide welcome investment in the UK’s world-class supply chain, as well as employment.

“They have shown what can be achieved when operators and suppliers adopt a collaborative, flexible and innovative approach.

“In our new decommissioning strategy, we pressed the case for the cultivation of a more collaborative culture, including the development of new procurement models, and the adoption of well plugging and decommissioning campaigns.

“We will continue to encourage companies to agree on sizable campaigns which drive greater efficiencies both in terms of cost and CO2 reduction and give the supply chain confidence to invest in new technologies – to the benefit of industry, the Treasury and the environment.”

Katy Heidenreich, OGUK’s supply chain and operations director said:

“Conventional procurement processes will not deliver what our industry needs to be competitive, and it is great to see companies thinking differently, working together to develop innovative contracts that drive enhanced and mutual value. This bold approach, together with a multi-year well campaign, shows how companies committed to OGUK’s Supply Chain Principles are driving a step change in commercial behaviour that unlocks the full potential of the supply chain and improves performance, eliminates unnecessary cost and adds value whilst boosting competitiveness. We encourage others to be bold about how they can drive support for the Principles within their organisations as this is how we will ensure our supply chain is fit and ready for the energy transition challenges of the future.”




For more information please contact:

Gavin Robinson

Commercial Manager


Notes to Editors:


  1. Founded in 2017, Well-Safe Solutions is the first-of-its-kind Tier One company that provides a complete well plug and abandon (P&A) capability to the industry, from front-end engineering and design to project execution. Well-Safe’s ground-breaking approach to P&A brings together a wealth of oil and gas expertise and experience, with significant investment in bespoke, fit for purpose, dedicated marine and land-based assets. Acknowledged as a company that has what it takes to solve one of the UK’s biggest industrial challenges, Well-Safe is positioned to meet the needs and regulatory imperatives around decommissioning.


  1. The Well-Safe Guardian semi-submersible is one of two assets which Well-Safe are bringing to market which are being fully repurposed for well decommissioning scopes. The other asset is the Well-Safe Protector heavy duty jack-up which has compelling advantages for supporting well decommissioning for platform wells, including tactical advantages in preparation for platform removal.
  2. The Oil & Gas UK agency reported in its 2020 Decommissioning Insights reports that 1,616 wells require to be decommissioned in the North Sea over the next decade. This is estimated to provoke a spend of £7.4b, and 60% of that spend happening in the UKCS.

Saturation Diving approved for use on the Well-Safe Guardian

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It has been a real collaborative effort between Well-Safe, regulators and industry experts to have the safety case accepted by the Health and Safety Executive. This milestone is a vital building block ensuring hazards to health, safety and the environment onboard the Well-Safe Guardian are fully understood, controlled and mitigated, and will facilitate the provision of a fully integrated, bespoke decommissioning asset.

Diving Operations will be conducted from the rig using the fully refurbished and upgraded D300 12-diver saturation diving system complete with a bespoke fully electric Submersible Decompression Chamber handling system and twin Self-Propelled Hyperbaric Lifeboats.

This is the first time in many years that a system of this kind will operate onboard a semi-submersible asset and we are delighted to implement this feature to provide a Tier 1 solution to decommissioning for our clients.

Well-Safe successfully completes its second international project of the year

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Following on from significant North Sea and International activity recently, Well-Safe Solutions can announce the successful completion of its second international project of the year with the team delivering detailed Peer Review and Benchmarking Services for a substantial field in Australia as part of the Operators assurance process.

Our client wanted to tap into our extensive North Sea experience, specialist regulatory knowledge, barrier remediation lessons and detailed operational performance benchmarks to help put in place the best plan of action for their project. The team recommended multiple optimisations to the Operator to ensure lessons were transferred from the North Sea and the best approach to decommissioning the field could be established, considering all strategies and outcomes.

For more information about how we can help you with any stage of a decommissioning project, from strategy and design to fully priced execution, check out our services page here.

Top Channel 4 series ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’ films rig-based task for its latest series on Well-Safe Guardian

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Melding two distinctly different operating cultures on a remote operating environment for a SAS task is not without its challenges and is certainly not for the faint-hearted. That said, with attention to detail, perfect planning, and adherence to the highest standards, it was a task that showcased the Oil & Gas sector’s finest safety culture.

Aberdeen based decommissioning company, Well-Safe Solutions, took part in filming for the upcoming Channel 4 series last summer with strict covid procedures in place.

The company’s semi-submersible rig, the Well-Safe Guardian, currently located in the Port of Cromarty Firth, was the location for the task, with crew onboard ensuring a smooth delivery of operations and the safety of all involved.

Well-Safe, who are members of the industries Step Change in Safety, reached out to Executive Director, Steve Rae, to provide a third-party review of the risk assessments required to undertake these activities with a mindset of “no incidents, no harm to personnel, the environment, or the asset”.

Steve Rae said: “From the onset it was obvious that all the organisations involved had a genuine willingness to engage, collaborate and share their experience for the greater good.  The bringing together of like-minded individuals with the required knowledge, experience, and competence, combined with the common object of delivering the filming of these activities safely, set us up for success.”

With collaboration at the core of the project, Well-Safe carried out rigorous assessment exercises alongside Step Change in Safety, Minnow Films and Remote Trauma to ensure all major accident hazard risks were identified and mitigated. A large admiration was held for the production’s standard of qualifications in health and safety, offshore qualifications and risk assessment capability.

Alex Bohanna, Director of Operations at Remote Trauma, an independent health and safety consultancy agency working alongside Minnow Films, said: “Often working in remote and inhospitable environments for our shoots, it is our job to ensure we keep our people safe from harm. The Well-Safe personnel complemented our belief in safety and exceeded our expectations.”

“The planning process that Well-Safe instigated leading up to the shoot day followed clear and structured procedures. Time was taken to understand the risk involved in the task and apply barriers and mitigation to enable the activities to be carried out safely.”

Due to air in May, the show sees civilians put through military training exercises to test their physical and mental strength. Ex-special forces and show star Jason Fox said: “Gaining access to the Well-Safe Guardian and working closely with their team for our task enabled a rare filming opportunity like this to be possible.”

Not only was this exercise outwith the industry “norm”, but the organisation process through the digital work-from-home age saw ropes teams, ex-military advisors and high-level corporate bosses dialling in from their respective locations.

Benjamin Leigh, the Executive Producer for the series, said: “We understood through the planning process there were several hoops to jump through before we could gain access to a location such as the Well-Safe Guardian.”

“The communication and planning that Well-Safe instigated throughout the entire project displayed professionalism, diversity and courage, giving us the chance to film an epic task in an incredible location.”

“Even during the pandemic, all safety measures were made clear and communicated effectively, showcasing a fantastic one-team culture.”

With the task set-up from the top down using open communication between all parties and seniority levels involved, Well-Safe implemented their ONETEAM ethos working together to deliver exceptional results, showcasing the industries safety standard to a wider audience in a unique way.



Well-Safe’s D300 Diving System Arrives on Scottish Shores

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A fantastic start to the week yesterday seeing the long-awaited arrival of our D300 Diving System to Scottish shores.

The journey from Singapore has taken six weeks and thanks to the hard work and dedication of the team, they ensured the unit’s safe arrival this morning. This has been no mean feat, with operations being managed from the UK by Well-Safe Solutions along with the support of Orca Oceanic Systems Ltd. Throughout this project, the team have adjusted their working hours to match that of the team in Singapore and now with its arrival in the UK are excited to start their new journey.

The unit will undergo a full refurbishment, and major enhancements to the system, including the addition of a bespoke Bell handling system and twin Self Propelled Hyperbaric Lifeboats (SPHL’s). This will enable the execution of saturation diving operations from the Well-Safe Guardian asset when required by clients.



Well-Safe completes the Well-Safe Protector’s intake ahead of schedule, with zero injuries and no COVID cases.

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Since purchasing the Well-Safe Protector in September of 2020, our team and our partners have been working extremely hard to achieve the milestones set out as part of our ambitious rig readiness and onboarding programs.

Following an intense shipyard stay in Norway, under ever-tightening COVID protocols, and a December cross-North Sea rig move, the Well-Safe Protector arrived in Invergordon. It has since undergone a complete Special Periodic Survey, and all operational equipment has been fully re-activated & tested. Our Well-Safe crew are now focusing on integrating all our processes and systems by taking lessons from our Well-Safe Guardian experience in preparation for rig acceptance audits in the coming weeks.

One of our key milestones was achieving the HSE Safety Case, which was completed, submitted, and approved by the regulator ahead of the planned schedule and is now in place. Thanks to our team’s dedication onshore and offshore, along with the support of Marex, for delivering this result.

With all technical documentation in place and the completion of the drilling equipment, our 7-month project involving over 105,000 manhours of work, incident-free, is now complete.

This kind of performance was only delivered because the teams and subcontractors worked as #ONETEAM and worked through every challenge they faced. They should be very proud of this achievement.


‘The Bigger Picture’ a Well-Safe Approach

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Last week Well-Safe Solutions took part in the 2021 virtual ICoTA week, with our Chief Operating Officer, Matt Jenkins, giving the keynote speech, followed by Steve Chalmers, one of our Senior Well Abandonment Engineers, presenting on ‘Optimisating Well Suspension through Light Intervention from a Moored Semi-Submersible.’ Here, Steve Chalmers talks more about the bigger picture in well decommissioning and furthering cost reduction, reducing risk and decreasing the carbon footprint of a project.

Well-Safe Solutions have completed multiple FEED/SELECT decommissioning studies for various operators within the UK. These studies cover all phases of well decommissioning; from initial well suspension to wellhead removal, identifying key risks associated with each phase and providing solutions to reduce risk and costs.

The approach outlined last week during the ICoTA presentation focussed on the initial Well Suspension Phase, comparing a more common approach utilising a Light Well Intervention Vessel (LWIV) to our bespoke “One MODU” vessel; the Well-Safe Guardian.

Beyond the initial Well Suspension Phase, additional risk and cost reductions can be achieved when taking a more holistic view of the overall field decommissioning campaign.

Comparing the same well suspension operations but considering it as part of an overall decommissioning campaign found that, in most scenarios, a moored semi-submersible is required during the remaining abandonment phases. Therefore, any risk associated with mooring a semi-submersible is still present even if the initial suspension work is completed without a rig. In addition, utilising an additional vessel (e.g. LWIV) to complete the well suspension phase increases the overall operational risk and cost to the decommissioning campaign through additional mobilisations, as well as managing multiple vessel scopes and contracts.

The Well-Safe “One MODU” Solution to Field Decommissioning minimises the number of vessels required to complete the scope of work, provides a decreased carbon footprint, provides a reduction in project risk exposure, and ensures more cost certainty for our customers.

In the near future, Well-Safe Solutions plans to announce updated news on our intervention system that will become a valuable addition to the Well-Safe Guardian.

Well-Safe Solutions Supply Chain Success

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Since its inception in 2017, Well-Safe Solutions has focused heavily upon establishing relationships with a variety of organisations at every level of the supply chain. To date, over 125 Master Services Agreement (MSA) documents have been executed covering a variety of activities both on and offshore.

This extensive suite of contracts enables Well-Safe Solutions to provide a full, Tier 1, P&A specialist service from both its bespoke decommissioning semi-submersible and jack-up rigs. Agreements put in place have been used operationally to great success in support of Well-Safe’s clients, and to facilitate upgrade & modification tasks on the Well-Safe Guardian and Protector assets.

Well-Safe Solutions has focused on building a collaborative culture of vendor engagement across every level of its operations. Specifically, this has involved fostering clear, concise and transparent relationships with its subcontractors in line with Well-Safe’s company philosophy.

Well-Safe Solutions believes that the formation of these relationships will provide the foundation for undertaking multi-operator, multi-well campaigns as part of the ‘P&A Club’ offering, delivering utmost commercial efficiency alongside industry-leading service performance.

Decommissioning – We’re ready. Are you?

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Our vision is to be the trusted well decommissioning service partner of choice.

As part of that journey, not only have we invested by growing our fleet, we understand that our people are equally important.

By bolstering our onshore team and investing heavily in our offshore teams, we have attracted some of the most experienced P&A crew available in the market, bringing together their experience and lessons learned to further develop our Well-Safe Culture.

By overhauling areas that will see heavy usage, adding adaptations for decommissioning operations, and combing our alliance with our downhole service company to help us integrate the services to reduce POB numbers, we are working hard to truly optimise P&A campaigns.



Well-Safe Solutions secures major investment following the acquisition of their second asset

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Following the recent acquisition of their second asset, Well-Safe Solutions has secured a significant £26 million investment to fund the next phase of its growth plan.

The further investment into the decommissioning company was led by MW&L Capital Partners, following their initial investment of £66 million to the company back in October 2019.

Phil Milton, Chief Executive Officer at Well-Safe Solutions, said: “This significant investment will help the company continue to deliver the growth and vision of the business in becoming a globally recognised Tier 1 well decommissioning company.”

“With the continued support of MW&L and existing shareholders, including the direct investment clients of Stonehage Fleming, we’ll be bringing the Well-Safe Guardian and Well-Safe Protector into operation in the spring of 2021 and aim to add further assets to our growing fleet – supporting our campaign-based approach to decommissioning.”

MW&L is a private investment vehicle providing flexible, long term capital to growth businesses. Julian Metherell, Partner at MW&L and Non-Exec Director at Well-Safe Solutions, commented: “Our initial investment with Well-Safe aimed to capitalise on the opportunity of an experienced team with dedicated decommissioning capability willing to tackle one of the industry’s greatest challenges with massive global potential.”

“With their recent purchase of the jack-up drilling unit, the Well-Safe Protector, the acquisition in 2019 of the semi-sub, the Well-Safe Guardian and a complete P&A capability, they are poised to tackle the industry challenge head-on.”

Well-Safe was launched in 2017 to provide a ground-breaking approach to safe and cost-efficient decommissioning and currently employs 80 staff with 50 based in Aberdeen and 30 offshore. As a specialist well decommissioning company it allows operators to meet the challenges and regulatory requirements around decommissioning, while significantly reducing costs.

Industry stalwart Alasdair Locke, Chairman and majority shareholder in Well-Safe Solutions said: “Well-Safe Solutions has the delivery model and capability that will revolutionise how we approach well decommissioning. It is committed to providing a world-class offering and has the skills, tools and experience to become a market leader in this exciting yet pivotal phase of our industry.”

Providing bespoke assets following significant investment and upgrade, Well-Safe says they are ready to undertake multi-operator, multi-well campaigns as part of their ‘P&A Club’ model, prepared to deliver the cost-savings that the operators and regulators desire.