Preperation is Key

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In the spring of 2020, the oil & gas industry is enduring unprecedented strain. Weathering the storm of a global pandemic and reacting to the consequences of a drastic commodity downturn – just as some stability was
beginning to return to the market – is scarcely believable, yet here we are.

During this period, it is worth asking ourselves what obligations are certain, and how can we best address them.

Redundant assets compromise the balance sheet, drain cash for poor return and thus impede the viability of premium assets. An operator with an active and productive decommissioning programme is maintaining an efficient and effective asset turnover cycle, and those that are best at it will come out of this turmoil the strongest.

Well-Safe contends that preparation is key through proper data analysis, incorporation of lessons learnt, planning of investigative work (if required), and consideration of required contingencies.

A recent engineering analysis conducted by Well-Safe showed that engineering studies could demonstrably provoke 10% reduction in project cost. The source of the savings in one example was in challenging the barrier philosophy (removing scope from the work) and introducing a rigless phase to improve efficiency (removing risk and therefore contingencies). Preliminary well engineering costs are a small fraction of the overall project costs: two or three percent? If so, about ten percent of costs being driven out is a five-fold return on investment on engineering services.

Well-Safe has a comprehensive and detailed design philosophy which is an integral part of our business processes. The Well Decommissioning Design Process (WDDP) is a gated process bespoke to well abandonment. It is not a well engineering and well design process that has been adjusted to well abandonment; the process has been built to deliver well abandonment as its first order of business, and because of that, it is more efficient and comprehensive than typical gated processes.

Using the WDDP Well-Safe can deliver studies for all forms of well abandonment – having already engaged on all types of well environments; platform, rigless, jack-up, subsea, land, etc. Although Well-Safe does have its own well abandonment asset, the Well-Safe Guardian semi-submersible, it does not preclude us from providing professional services to all sectors of the well abandonment market: our engineers have experience across all environments.

The WDDP has the following gates: FEED, Select, Define, Execute and Close. Using these gates, Well-Safe can deliver a broad array of engineering output; from very early Asset Retirement Obligation (ARO) estimations, technology cost-benefit analysis, and detailed abandonment programmes.

An ARO review conducted by Well-Safe Solutions for a North-Sea operator managed to produce a saving of over £50million, by using accurate data and lessons learned taken from previous decommissioning work conducted in the field. By taking into consideration updates in technology and applying a better understanding of abandonment techniques, Well-Safe enabled the operator to release substantial financial accruals from their balance sheet.

Well-Safe engineers are in a unique position to generate cost estimates with an unusually high degree of precision – which has real-world benefits financially. When an AFE is overestimated, any capital which is locked in, but ultimately unspent, creates tangible financial inefficiencies – with a Cost of Capital of 10% per year, £5million overestimation for a year-long campaign destroys half a million pounds of operator capital.

Our degree of precision is feasible for two reasons. Firstly, with a great deal of experience, lessons learned, and broad vendor engagement, Well-Safe has a tangible appreciation of available technology, its application and cost, even in these turbulent times. Secondly, we have long term contracts with a broad range of suppliers in place today; with over 70 vendors signed up to Master Service Agreements, and multiyear contracts, Well-Safe is in a strong position to provide cost certainty.

Should Well-Safe be contracted to provide operational support to the project, we can also activate a full procurement exercise employing our active subcontracting relationships where further expertise is available.

Estimating a cost is one thing but delivering the project against this cost is quite another. That is why Well-Safe is very active in designing bespoke performance models. This provides clients with the confidence that promises made will be promises kept. These models are constructed to address the clients’ key requirements: cost assurance, delivery performance, schedule obligations, or any combination as required. We are a solution orientated company, and we believe that solutions are not just designs, technology and processes, but also commercial, contractual, and financial. Open, transparent, and constructive dialogue is key.

Ensuring preliminary planning and engineering studies are correctly executed, enables the industry to better prepare for the inevitable increased activity, with significant cost benefits and efficiency for operators.

A Safe, Smart and Efficient Approach to Well Decommissioning

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Well-Safe Solutions have a track record in progressing P&A projects from front end engineering to execution using our proven planning tools and the most experienced P&A team in the business.

Well-Safe were recently engaged on a short start-up P&A project, affording a challenging 3-month period between contract award and the arrival of the MODU on location. It was essential that project resources were aligned, programmes optimised and regulatory permits secured to ensure project delivery. Well-Safe utilised its bespoke Well Decommissioning Delivery Process to ensure that key project milestones were set and achieved, assisting with the smooth progression of the project from SELECT through to DEFINE. These crucial project phases included the submission of key regulatory documents and the generation of detailed well abandonment designs and cost estimates. The depth of experience in the Well-Safe team enabled optimisation of the well abandonment design to be implemented, such as scope removal and new technology implementation which increased overall P&A efficiency. The DEFINE phase also required an extensive procurement exercise to be undertaken, with over 20 contracts evaluated, negotiated, awarded. All of these products and/or services had to be on-boarded, integrated and deployed as part of the Project Readiness Review.

Despite the challenges, the transition from DEFINE to EXECUTE was achieved with all required equipment in place, fully considered and agreed risk assessments, regulatory consents given and well abandonment designs in place. At the Project Readiness evaluation, a “Abandon the Well on Paper” exercise was undertaken with full vendor participation, further examining the risk profiles for each activity and ensuring that the team was well prepared for the scope. This way, Well-Safe were able to further drive project optimisation, working smarter and leverage all lessons learned into the project.

Throughout the EXECUTE phase of the campaign, careful monitoring and control of the project was achieved using unique project reporting tools available to all stakeholders, and a bespoke Management of Change process to implement coordinated updates to the plan. These were key value drivers for the success of the project and they ensured that all project stakeholders were working harmoniously, with a one-team approach, progressing the project to deliver safe and efficient plug and abandonment for the client.


Going The Distance with Well-Safe Solutions

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Well-Safe Team Raises over £2,500 for COVID-19 Fund

Spearheaded by the Well-Safe Guardian rig crew, Well-Safe Solutions banded together during the pandemic to raise money for the Covid-19 Fund created by NHS Grampian Endowment Fund.

Our asset, the Well-Safe Guardian, is currently homed in Invergordon and looked after by our dedicated, hard-working crew. If each member of this crew was to travel home and back again, between them they would cover 1,335 miles.  Passing through Elgin, Inverurie, Altens, Montrose, Fife, Peterborough, Milton Keynes, North Wales and Oban.

The team decided to cover this mileage onboard the rig by rowing, cycling or running in the gym facilities or by racking up the step count around the rig. With further help from our onshore support team, utilising their daily exercise time, we managed to surpass our target mileage in the 20 days, making it virtually around the UK, back to Invergordon and even adding on the extra distance to the Aberdeen, Cove office.

By doing this, the team managed to raise £2,681 towards the incredible Covid-19 Fund set up by the NHS Grampian Endowment Fund.

The local charity has been working tirelessly to support the frontline workers during this current crisis through:

– ‘Comfort boxes’ for the NHS Staff and charities (including essential       toiletries and basic foods)
– Providing hand cream for all workers whose hands are struggling following the rigorous cleaning.
– Providing barrier cream for the workers whose skin is struggling under the PPE face masks.
– Providing 200 iPads for hospitals with patients during end of life care. This allows them to say their goodbyes via video call where possible. It will also go towards care homes for elderly relatives to better stay in touch with family members who are unable to see them.

We hope this donation is able to help the charity continue their work in in the fight against COVID-19.

Five Wells Safely Isolated On Latest Project

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Well-Safe was contracted to execute a multi-well P&A project in the UKCS from SELECT stage planning, DEFINE Engineering and management of the EXECUTION phase. Well-Safe’s value proposition to the operator was in applying detailed industry lessons to the project, reducing HSE risks and reducing the time per well whilst removing the administrative burden on the operator, who maintained a small oversight team.

With the most P&A experience in the industry, the team directly assigned to the project could count over 400 individual wells worth of experience from NNS platforms, CNS subsea campaigns and SNS Normally Unmanned Installation’s (NUI).

With only 3 months to plan from award to rig arrival, all engineering, project management, logistics and supply chain preparation was to be undertaken. Well-Safe not only ensured all timelines were met but also that many of the previous lessons learned by the team were able to be applied to ensure a swift reduction in P&A execution time from the offset.

To date, 9 wells have been suspended and work continues on the primary barrier installations to allow the platform to be called hydrocarbon free, a major step towards reducing risk for the operator. During the execution phase, a further £5.4mm of potential savings has been identified by taking advantage of opportunities through the rest of the campaign.

Fugro secure contract on-board Well-Safe Guardian rig

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Fugro has secured an initial 3-year contract with Well-Safe Solutions (WSS), a UK-based offshore well decommissioning service provider. Fugro will deliver their integrated and bundled marine-based solution onboard the Well-Safe Guardian rig, WSS’s bespoke semi-submersible unit for executing subsea well-decommissioning work.

The contract award gives Fugro responsibility for supplying and supporting remotely operated vehicle (ROV) services, rig positioning and remote operations. Expert support in this area will come from Fugro’s remote operations centre in Aberdeen, Scotland: remote access via the onshore team will reduce the number of Fugro personnel required onboard the Well-Safe Guardian asset to improve efficiency and maximise safety.

Kevin Chambers, Fugro’s ROV Service Line Director, said: “I am delighted to announce this contract award with Well-Safe Solutions. Our teams’ skills and experience in plug and abandonment and decommissioning of offshore wells perfectly complement the expertise of Well-Safe Solutions. We will also add value through our extensive knowledge of marine asset integrity.”

Phil Milton, Well-Safe Solutions’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “Following an extensive tender process we are pleased to award this contract to Fugro for ROV, rig positioning and remote operations. The capabilities of their offering enable Well-Safe to maximise overall operational efficiency and delivery for our clients at a cost-effective rate while maintaining close commercial alignment.”

Well-Safe Solutions Awards Significant Work Scope for Downhole Services

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Well-Safe Solutions has announced the award of a significant work scope to Schlumberger for the provision of Plug and Abandonment Well Services.

The scope includes the supply of cementing service, wireline services, wellbore fluid services and fishing, milling and swarf recovery services.

The appointment of Schlumberger was the result of a highly competitive selection process through which Schlumberger demonstrated a highly attuned and complementary strategy for well decommissioning. The work will be aboard the Well-Safe Guardian; Well-Safe’s flagship decommissioning asset.

Phil Milton, chief executive officer at Well-Safe Solutions said: “We are delighted to award this contract to Schlumberger following an extensive tender process. Achieving this major milestone within the timeframes we committed to, will give us access to the necessary technology and ensure our operational readiness for Q2 2020.”

Donald McKay, Business Development Manager at Schlumberger said: “Schlumberger is pleased to deliver our services for well abandonment to our clients in the North Sea. The appointment of these fully integrated services shall enable significant benefit to the P&A market.”




Local Charities Benefit from Safety Record and Triple Collaboration

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Highland Hospice, MFR Cash for Kids and Raigmore hospital’s Special Care Baby unit are all set to receive a substantial sum from a triple safety collaboration initiative run during the Well-Safe Guardian’s repair and upgrade project at Nigg Energy Park.

The Well-Safe Guardian is currently undergoing a major refurbishment and upgrade project at Nigg Energy Park to become the first dedicated, bespoke well decommissioning asset of its time.

Neil Ferguson, Operations Director at Well-Safe Solutions said: “The initiative, that was led by the crews onboard, has really driven the development of a great culture and working environment throughout this ambitious upgrade project. We are proud that the hard work of everybody involved has paid off, benefitting three great charities.”

As part of an inclusion and engagement initiative run by all 3 companies, the workforce were asked to decide on the safety initiative and then voted on how the funds raised should be allocated.
As a result; Well-Safe Solutions, Global Energy Group & Rigfit7Seas, have each committed to donating £100 for every 10,000 incident-free Man Hours achieved, to the three nominated local Charities.

Ross Thompson, Project Manager for Global Energy Groups, Access & Coatings division commented: “We are delighted with the success of the Well-Safe Guardian project and to be able to donate this money to 3 well-deserving charities. The entire workforce has been behind the safety incentive and the success is a credit to their continued attention to safety and quality, a focus that is the heart of all 3 companies and their values”.

Rigfit7Seas, Project Manager, Ryan Knowles also commented “We are very proud to be a part of this generous act, not only are we coming together to execute this project safely and efficiently, we are giving back to the local community. Everyone involved has done a tremendous job to reach this milestone”.

The 3 companies were delighted to welcome representatives from all 3 charities to Global Energy Group’s, Port of Nigg facility where each charity received a donation of £2000 from some of the team that have been responsible for delivering the project so far.

Well-Safe Solutions Secures Major Investment for Next Phase of Growth MW&L Capital Partners Lead Investment into Fast-Growth Decommissioning Company

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Well-Safe Solutions has secured a significant new £66 million investment to fund the next phase of its journey as a tier one well decommissioning company.

MW&L Capital Partners has led the new round of investment, bringing together a consortium of private investors to acquire a major stake in the business.

Expenditure on decommissioning in the UK Continental Shelf is forecast to be £15.3 billion in the next decade*. Well decommissioning accounts for approximately 49% of total spend, equating to £7.5 billion spend over the next decade. Around 5,000 wells, of which 1,000 are subsea, require to be decommissioned in the North Sea.

Well-Safe chief executive, Phil Milton, said: “This significant investment marks the beginning of our next phase of planned growth. The initial private funding from our original shareholders has enabled us to build strong foundations. We have amassed the largest concentration of well decommissioning expertise in the North Sea, secured major plug and abandonment (P&A) contracts, and are generating significant revenues from our engineering business. In addition, we have acquired our first asset, the Well-Safe Guardian which is currently being upgraded and converted into a bespoke P&A asset for the industry.”

“With the backing of MW&L and existing shareholders, we’ll be bringing the Well-Safe Guardian into operation in the first half of 2020 and looking to acquire further assets as planned to accelerate the delivery of our campaign-based approach to the plug and abandonment of wells in the North Sea and Continental Europe.”

Mr Milton explained that this was a long term investment in Well-Safe which is delivering a long term solution to one of the industry’s biggest challenges.

MW&L is a private investment vehicle providing flexible, long term capital to growth businesses. Julian Metherell, a Founding Partner of MW&L commented: “Decommissioning is one of the greatest industrial challenges we face and a sector with massive global potential.”

“Well-Safe, with its wealth of well decommissioning experience, dedicated marine P&A assets and associated equipment, is the first-of-its-kind tier one company with a complete P&A capability, and is ideally placed to capitalise on this opportunity.”

Well-Safe was launched in 2017 to provide a ground-breaking approach to safe and cost-efficient decommissioning and now employs 70 staff and around 20 contractors. As a specialist well decommissioning company it allows operators to meet the challenges and regulatory requirements around decommissioning, while significantly reducing costs.

Well-Safe Solutions was established by industry stalwarts, Alasdair Locke, Mark Patterson, and Paul Warwick. Funding from Scottish Enterprise, including investment from the Scottish Investment Bank and a regional selective assistance grant, bolstered the initial private funding provided by the major shareholders.

Alasdair Locke and Paul Warwick remain as Chairman and non-executive director respectively. Julian Metherell of MW&L joins the board which also comprises Well-Safe’s senior management and Scottish Enterprise. Founding executive director, Mark Patterson, will be stepping down following the deal.

Mr Patterson said: “I am proud to have been involved in establishing a business that has the potential to revolutionise how we tackle well decommissioning safely, responsibly and cost-effectively. When embarking on this venture, I wanted to get the business onto the best footing, launching the brand and creating the right environment to attract the most experienced people in the industry to form a centre of excellence in P&A. With these accomplished and the first tranche of major external investment in place, the time is now right for me to step down and leave the business in safe and expert hands.”

The P&A Club

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Being part of our Plug and Abandonment Club will give you access to our unique vehicle to de-risk your profile of well inventory, with fixed rate guarantees, flexible delivery options, and future budget certainty. The P&A Club will provide an open and trusted knowledge sharing platform which helps to deliver continuous improvement to delivery performance driving, future proof solutions within a safe, collaborative environment.

We own and operate the Well-Safe Guardian, currently being configured to be the first dedicated well-decommissioning semi-submersible in the world. Owning this asset enables Well-Safe to provide cost certainty for the largest component cost in well decommissioning: the cost of the rig. Employing the same repeatable processes, with a constant crew of specialists and long-term relationships with our subcontractors, builds trust within the team, and provides our clients with a much higher degree of economic confidence.

By arranging multiple work scopes into continuous campaigns, we continually absorb and utilise lessons learned in the planning and execution of our well decommissioning projects, thereby maximizing efficiency.

Well-Safe Solutions are adding value to clients’ well decommissioning scope by providing highly skilled abandonment engineers using bespoke processes to design & deliver safe & compliant projects.

Continuous and diligent examination of risks & opportunities versus project requirements & economics, all within a safe & compliant working environment, means that Well-Safe are experts at balancing complexities for project success.

Well-Safe Solutions ‘Energy of the Future’

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We are delighted to have taken part in ‘Energy of the Future’ a news and current affair style programme by Oil & Gas UK and ITN Productions. 

Telling the story of the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry in providing secure energy supply, support for hundreds of thousands of jobs, it’s key economic contribution and, through the energy transition, a net-zero future.

Check out our segment below:



Click here to see a trailer for the full programme!