PUBLICLY available data on suspended offshore oil wells has now been collated in a centralised location to help identify those that are suitable for decommissioning.

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) said it is the first time such data had been consolidated and as well as encouraging the industry to develop proposals it would now work with stakeholders to target decommissioning opportunities in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

This would see the initial focus on the Central North Sea, where there is currently a high suspended well count, and the East Irish Sea, where mobilisation and transit costs are significantly higher.

The OGA said its approach using campaign-based well decommissioning projects – as opposed to decommissioning wells individually – can result in substantial cost savings, especially when multiple operators work together.

It can allow mobilisation costs to be spread across several wells and the time taken for the work can be reduced through gained operational efficiencies.

READ MORE: Alba Developments seeking buyers for new site in Edinburgh

Pauline Innes, OGA head of decommissioning, said: “There are hundreds of suspended wells across the UKCS that are ready to be decommissioned. By consolidating this data, we want to encourage companies to look at the opportunities for working together to get a sizeable well campaign going.

“For us, the cost savings from a campaign approach are compelling, so we are now asking industry to respond by working on solutions to tackle the significant suspended well stock.”

OGUK’s decommissioning manager, Joe Leask, added: “Working together and combining similar work scopes in decommissioning makes sense. Over the near term there is a large quantity of wells to be decommissioned in this highly specialised and costly part of the decommissioning process.

“Campaigning well decommissioning scopes helps us manage our costs more effectively and would help provide continuity of work for our hard-pressed supply chain.

“This is key if we are to continue to build and develop expertise which is highly exportable to other oil and gas provinces around the world some of which are also reaching maturity.”