With more assets and wells coming to the end of their economic life, decommissioning is a pertinent topic of discussion across the globe, particularly in the North Sea. This type of project can be extremely challenging, costly, and time consuming, however new technology is continually emerging to help operators unlock efficiencies throughout the decommissioning process.
The KTP, led by Sergi Almirall, was focussed on developing an underwater lifting system as a solution to the subsea maintenance, commissioning and decommissioning operations. The project has taken “DeepBuoy” Aubin’s patented pumpable liquid buoyancy technology and incorporated it into an engineered system that can enable divers and ROV’s to lift and move objects underwater.
At an average cost of £5M each, well abandonment is the biggest single decommissioning cost that North Sea operators currently face. This is because current practices require a rig to plug and abandon a well. This has prompted the search for new “rigless” abandonment techniques to lower costs.