Decommissioning Insight 2017


4.2 Well Plugging and Abandonment The purpose of well P&A is to isolate reservoir fluids within the wellbore and from the surface or seabed. This activity is carried out in accordance with industry guidelines 7 , as well as the OffshoreWells Design and Construction Regulations 1996 8 on the UKCS and the NORSOK D-10 regulations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf 9 . Well P&A can be challenging and may involve intervention in the form of removing downhole equipment, such as production tubing and packers, and well-scale decontamination treatment. The process also requires the wellhead and conductor to be removed. Well P&A is the largest category of decommissioning activity, with 2,447 wells forecast to be plugged and abandoned across the North Sea to 2025 (1,624 in the UK, 300 in Norway, 113 on the Danish Continental Shelf and 410 in The Netherlands). The combined forecast for the North Sea has been relatively consistent year-on-year, clearly demonstrating the strong market opportunity that well P&A represents for the supply chain. Year-on-year activity will average at around 230 wells per year to 2022, before a new wave of projects starts in 2023. Seventy- two per cent of this activity is for platform wells (1,751), and the remainder are subsea wells. This ratio does however vary when looking at each region specifically (see regional breakdown on subsequent pages). The region with the highest number of wells forecast for P&A is the central North Sea where a quarter of the wells (604 wells) are located, while the Danish Continental Shelf is expected to see the least amount of activity with 113 wells due to be plugged and abandoned by 2025.

Figure 1: Well P&A Forecast Across the North Sea

CNS - Platform Wells

CNS - Subsea Wells

SNS and Irish Sea - Platform Wells

SNS and Irish Sea - Subsea Wells

NNS and WoS - Platform Wells

NNS and WoS - Subsea Wells

Norway - Platform Wells Denmark - Subsea Wells

Norway - Subsea Wells

Denmark - Platform Wells

The Netherlands - Platform Wells

The Netherlands - Subsea Wells

100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500

Number of Wells

0 50

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025

Source: Oil & Gas UK, The Netherland's Nexstep National Platform, Asset Stewardship Survey

7 Guidelines on the Abandonment of Wells and Qualification of Materials for Abandonment are available to download at and 8 See 9 See NORSOK Standard D-010 Well Integrity in Drilling and Well Operations , (Rev.4 June 2013) at


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