Well-Safe Solutions and Apache Corporation sign P&A Club decommissioning deal

By 15/02/2023

Well-Safe Solutions and Apache Corporation have signed a multi-year framework agreement to decommission wells in the North Sea, as part of the decommissioning specialist’s Plug and Abandonment (P&A) Club offering.

The deal provides the US-based energy producer with access to specialist decommissioning assets the Well-Safe Defender and Well-Safe Guardian to P&A its well stock.

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, it takes 31 days on average to decommission a subsea well from a North Sea rig.1

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 7.9 days and the longest just 15.5 days.2

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 begin in 2024 as part of a continuous campaign, enabling Well-Safe Solutions to maximise schedule flexibility and improve efficiencies of scale for the member companies within the 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.

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.”

This latest development follows a year of sustained growth for Aberdeen-based Well-Safe Solutions.

In December 2022, the Well-Safe Protector mobilised 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.

  1. Source: UKCS Decommissioning Benchmarking Report 2021, North Sea Transition Authority, p.12 
  2. Source: Well-Safe Solutions’ well intelligence commissioned in-house, compared directly to UKCS Decommissioning Benchmarking Report 2021 figures.
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