please enter please select

NEWS & INSIGHTS | article

Four leading operators collaborate to accelerate well decommissioning technologies

29 November 2022 3 minute read
  • Harbour Energy, ConocoPhillips, Spirit Energy and Repsol Sinopec Resources UK Limited confirmed members of the well decommissioning collaboration initiative.
  • Collaborative initiative will have a total of up to £1.5 million annual funding available to support field trials and test innovative well decommissioning technology ideas.
  • Initiative will accelerate the pace at which technology is qualified and commercialised.
  • Industry investment and collaboration will enable more field trials to validate new technologies faster and at lower cost.

The Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC) has announced Harbour Energy, ConocoPhillips, Spirit Energy and Repsol Sinopec as members of its well decommissioning collaboration initiative. 

Actively supported by the Technology Leadership Board (TLB), North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) and Offshore Energies UK (OEUK), the well decommissioning initiative will enable new technologies to be trialled and tested in multi-operator collaboration field trials – both offshore in the UK and onshore in some international locations – enabling faster, lower-cost trials and wider industry adoption in the UK and beyond.

The NSTA has identified that well decommissioning represents circa 46% of UKCS decommissioning costs, or an estimated £20bn spend over the life of the basin. Technology best practice and innovation has a key role in helping operators reduce the cost of well decommissioning and delivercarbon emission reducing well decommissioning techniques.

The multi-operator led initiative will aim to fund up to five technologies per year and support a minimum of three field trials for each technology.  The goal is to have a minimum of six technologies successfully qualified and adopted by year four of the collaboration.

Technology ideas to support the validation and qualification of alternative well decommissioning materials, inspection and verification technologies, and other well decommissioning enabling technology streams will be considered.  All with the aim to remove as much rig-based scope from well decommissioning as possible, so that well decommissioning becomes an intervention scope for the majority of wells. 

Rebecca Allison, Head of Emissions Reduction, Net Zero Technology Centre commented: “We are delighted to announce Harbour Energy, ConocoPhillips, Spirit Energy and Repsol Sinopec as members of our well decommissioning collaboration initiative. This collaborative approach is a real game changer for well decommissioning technology development realised through the proactive attitude and willingness of our existing members to collaborate and share information.

“The initiative is industry led, addressing the challenges our member companies have identified. It is this unique multi-operator approach that will deliver the pace of technology development required to meet the industry commitment to reach a minimum of 35% cost reduction and 50% emissions reduction in well decommissioning by 2035.”

Adam Sheikh, Vice President Decommissioning and Energy Transition, Repsol Sinopec said: “New and emerging well decommissioning technologies have the potential to significantly aid in safely reducing decommissioning liability in the UKCS.  We are pleased to be a partner in the NZTC well decommissioning collaboration initiative.

“We look forward to working closely with the NZTC, other operators and technology developers to accelerate the pace of well decommissioning technology development and acceptance to the end that we, along with others operating within the UKCS, can realise the savings new technology can offer in a timely manner.”

Nicky Riley, Well Operations Manager (UK), Spirit Energy commented: “Spirit Energy is delighted to be collaborating in this initiative with industry partners. The cost and carbon reduction challenge will be met by achieving incremental gains in efficiency across all aspects of wells decommissioning. We will use innovative technology to shift scope from pipe-conveyed abandonment to less resource-intensive intervention techniques to enable us to deliver those gains.”

Find out more and get involved here

Subscribe for the latest updates