Fulmar Alpha; Source: Repsol Sinopec

New 32-well decommissioning gig for Archer in North Sea

Oilfield services provider Archer has been awarded a multi-million-dollar decommissioning contract by Repsol Sinopec to execute the plug and abandonment (P&A) work covering 32 wells in the UK sector of the North Sea.

Fulmar Alpha; Source: Repsol Sinopec

The $165 million contract entails the plug and abandonment (P&A) of 30 wells in the Fulmar field and two wells in the Halley field on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). This is a fully integrated P&A project, including well services and engineering, the removal of the existing drilling facility and the installation of a modular rig. The planning and engineering work is expected to start immediately.

Dag Skindlo, CEO of Archer, commented: “We are delighted that Repsol Sinopec has elected Archer and our fully integrated operational model for this plug & abandon project. The delivery model with integrated drilling and well services, supported by partners, is a step change in how operators permanently plug and abandon oil and gas wells.”

According to Archer, the Fulmar scope encompasses the removal of the existing drilling facility and the installation of one of its P&A rigs. The firm will deploy its broad P&A well services offering to reduce the time and cost to plug each well. The integrated offshore P&A operations are anticipated to begin in the second half of 2024 or early 2025.

“We have noted an uptake in interest and tender proposals for such holistic P&A models, and we believe that this contract and similar project awards will drive growth in both turnover and profitability. The permanent plugging and abandonment of oil and gas wells is an essential activity as the world decarbonises on the road to net-zero. Our goal is to industrialise the P&A process and spearhead innovation to cut operators’ P&A costs globally,” added Skindlo.

Located in blocks 30/16 and 30/11b, the Fulmar field is situated 312 km east of Dundee, Scotland. The Fulmar platform, located approximately 217 miles east of Dundee, was installed in 1981 with the first oil production achieved in 1982. It consists of two fixed steel jackets and facilities for drilling, production, accommodation, and associated utilities. The Fulmar field ceased production in 2018 but has substantially contributed to the UK economy producing 565 mmbbls during field life.

The Fulmar platform – used to process production from the Fulmar and Halley fields along with the Auk North sub-sea tieback – acts as a gathering hub by providing a transportation and redelivery service for the Gannet, Auk, Clyde Orion, and Flyndre fields through the oil export module. The oil is exported from the Fulmar platform via the Norpipe system for onward delivery to the Teesside Terminal.

Adam Sheikh, Repsol Sinopec’s VP of Decommissioning and Energy Transition, remarked: “We aim to deliver one of the North Sea’s most ambitious decommissioning programmes in the years ahead – including the full decommissioning of our Fulmar Alpha asset. This contract award represents a significant milestone in our decommissioning journey and my thanks go to the teams for the vast amount of work to get us to this stage.

“As a company, we intend to deliver decommissioning work as cost-effectively as possible whilst minimising environmental impact. We look forward to working closely with our partner Archer to safely deliver this decommissioning scope of works on our Fulmar Alpha facility”