A worldwide first as six oil and gas operators and Oceaneering Services B.V. sign deal to jointly decommission wells in the North Sea

Today, NAM, Neptune Energy, ONE-Dyas, Petrogas E&P, TotalEnergies EP Nederland and Wintershall Noordzee have signed an agreement with Oceaneering Services B.V. for the decommissioning of Mud Line Suspension (MLS) wells in the Dutch North Sea, which are wells that were once drilled for exploration purposes, but never became producing wells. This is the first time that wells from this many different operators will be removed together in one campaign.

Through Nexstep, the Dutch National Platform for Re-use & Decommissioning, the operators have been working over the past few years to prepare a first joint campaign. Research from parties like the Boston Consulting Group1 demonstrates that larger campaigns offer efficient execution, leading to optimal opportunity for learning and improvements as well as cost savings along the way. A combined strategy was developed for the rigless plugging and abandonment of 24 standalone MLS wells in the Dutch sector of the North Sea with the possibility that more wells could be added. MLS wells are relatively simple or easier to remove than wells that are connected to a platform making these wells ideally suitable for a first campaign. Now that the contract has been signed with Oceaneering Services B.V., the project enters its execution phase.

Early 2022, Oceaneering will begin with the preparations for the well and seabed survey. The scope of work for vessel-based decommissioning includes, amongst others, the following tasks: well and seabed survey, removal of protective structures, removal of temporary abandonment caps, removal of (oil based) well fluids, setting cement plugs in casing or annuli, cutting, and retrieving conductors, and disposal of waste. Oceaneering Services B.V. will execute the joint campaign in 2022 and 2023. The campaign is expected to be completed by 31 December 2023.

Javier Falcon, Senior Manager UK/Europe, Oceaneering Services B.V. said: “Oceaneering is pleased to have secured the multi-operator, multi-well, and multi-year contract for vessel-based plug and abandonment services in the Dutch Sector of the North Sea. Our extensive experience, proven track record, and innovative engineered solutions for well abandonment and subsea removals were instrumental to earning this award. We are committed to delivering a safe, high-quality integrated decommissioning turn-key project.

This contract represents a key milestone in Oceaneering’s strategy for vessel-based plug and abandonment solutions and underpins our position as a market leader offering ‘best-in-class’ services.”

Jacqueline Vaessen, General Manager Nexstep, said, “We are thrilled that the project can start this winter and want to express our gratitude to all those people who have worked in the various committees to make this happen. This is the first time that so many operators are working together in one campaign to remove wells. It is expected that efficiency improvements and better utilisation of the learning curve will lead to cost savings. Of course, the main requirement is that decommissioning is carried out in a safe manner where environmental interests are safeguarded. Now, that we have achieved this milestone of successfully tendering with multiple operators, we can explore the possibilities for future joint campaigns together with the operators.”

About Nexstep

Nexstep, National Platform for Re-use & Decommissioning was established in 2017 by EBN2 and NOGEPA3, respectively representing the state and the oil and gas operators. Nexstep is a collaborative umbrella organization that coordinates, facilitates and seeks dialogue on the safe, clean and efficient removal of oil and gas infrastructure in the Netherlands.

For more information about the joint campaign, please contact Marcel Hoenderdos at marcel.hoenderdos@ebn.nl or via tel: 06-35120075 or contact Anne-Marie Frissen at anne-marie.frissen@nogepa.nl or via tel: 06-28163380.

  1. A Roadmap for Cutting Decommissioning Costs by 30% (bcg.com)
  2. EBN, Energie Beheer Nederland
  3. NOGEPA, the Netherlands Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Association