Decommissioning firm Well-Safe inks bumper North Sea contract

Bogi Vang (left), deputy country manager UK and senior financial adviser at DNO North Sea with Well-Safe Solutions chief executive Phil Milton. Picture: contributed.
Bogi Vang (left), deputy country manager UK and senior financial adviser at DNO North Sea with Well-Safe Solutions chief executive Phil Milton. Picture: contributed.
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Aberdeen-headquartered Well-Safe Solutions has inked a landmark deal to decommission up to 21 North Sea wells as it works towards ambitious international growth plans.

The contract with DNO North Sea is understood to be worth in the tens of millions of pounds, and will see the group perform work on up to 20 platform wells and a single subsea well off the UK coast.

It marks the latest milestone for the decommissioning group, which has previously announced intentions to more than double its employee numbers by the end of the year.

All 21 wells are located in the Schooner and Ketch fields in the UK Southern North Sea, with both having ceased production in August last year, operated by DNO North Sea, a wholly owned subsidiary of Norwegian oil and gas operator DNO.

Well-Safe will be responsible for the delivery of key aspects of the project including engineering, contractor management and logistics, with DNO retaining well operatorship.

The project is due to start immediately, with offshore operations scheduled to begin at the end of 2019, and is expected to last approximately two years.

Well-Safe, launched in August 2017, currently has around 40 staff, but is undergoing an ongoing recruitment drive to fill newly created roles at its Aberdeen head office, its onshore marine base in The Port of Dundee, and its offshore operations.

Phil Milton, chief executive at Well-Safe Solutions, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Well-Safe, allowing us to build a continuous programme of work through campaign-based approach and realising the associated benefits.”

The contract marks the latest phase in the firm’s objective to export its operating model and advance from the UK into the global marketplace, with a vision to become a “Tier One” wells decommissioning company.

It follows Well-Safe’s acquisition in April of a semi-submersible drilling asset described as a “stalwart in the North Sea”, set to be converted into a bespoke plug and abandonment unit.

The Aberdeen firm estimated that the Ocean Guardian, which was to be renamed the Well-Safe Guardian following the acquisition from drilling contractor Diamond Offshore, would bring a further 90 jobs to the North Sea over the coming year.

It planned to invest in the region of $100 million (£77m) on converting the asset, and said it would be the first time a privately-owned Scottish business owned and operated this type of unit.

Planned upgrades included repurposing it to include a dive system and the capability to deploy a subsea intervention lubricator, with support from the Oil & Gas Technology Centre.

Research has previously indicated there are more than 33,000 wells worldwide that will need to be decommissioned in the next 20 years.