ABERDEEN, UK — North Sea operators Harbour Energy, ConocoPhillips, Spirit Energy and Repsol Sinopec have joined the Net Zero Technology Centre’s (NZTC) well decommissioning collaboration initiative.
The program, supported by the Technology Leadership Board, North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) and Offshore Energies UK, is designed to allow new technologies to be trialed and tested in multi-operator collaboration field trials offshore in the UK and at some international onshore locations.
Targets include faster, lower-cost trials and wider industry adoption in the UK and beyond.
According to the NSTA, well decommissioning accounts for about 46% of UK offshore decommissioning costs, equivalent to expenditure of £20 billion ($24 billion) over the life of the basin.
Technology best practice and innovation, the NZTC said, can help operators cut well decommissioning costs as well as deliver carbon emission-reducing techniques.
The multi-operator initiative will seek to fund up to five technologies annually and support a minimum of three field trials for each technology. Long term, the aim is to have a minimum of six technologies qualified and implemented by year four of the collaboration.
This could include techniques for supporting the validation and qualification of alternative well decommissioning materials, inspection and verification technologies.
In all cases, the goals should be to lessen where possible the rig-based scope involved in well decommissioning, making this a process of interventions for the majority of wells.
Nicky Riley, well operations manager (UK), Spirit Energy, said, “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.”