Six oil & gas players contract Oceaneering Services to decommission MLS wells in Dutch North Sea

Oceaneering Services awarded multi-operator, well, and year decommissioning contract

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. It 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.

24 standalone MLS wells

Research from parties like the Boston Consulting Group 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 (wells that were once drilled for exploration purposes, but never became producing 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.

Start execution phase

Now that the contract has been signed, 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, among others, 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.

“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.” – Jacqueline Vaessen, General Manager Nexstep

“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.” -Javier Falcon, Senior Manager UK/Europe, Oceaneering Services B.V. Source: Nextstep, Image: Pixabay