Armada; Source: Shell

Shell cleared for removal and disposal ops at North Sea field

Norske Shell, a Norwegian subsidiary of the UK-headquartered energy giant Shell, has received consent from the country’s offshore safety regulator for removal and disposal operations, which are part of the company’s decommissioning activities on a field located in the North Sea off Norway.

Armada; Source: Shell

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) revealed earlier during the week that it had given Norske Shell consent for the removal and disposal of the subsea structures on the Gaupe field, following the firm’s application for the consent to be granted.

According to the Norwegian regulator, the Petroleum Act requires the developer of a field to pay for and to carry out full or partial removal of facilities and equipment after the production period has ended. The offshore safety watchdog underscores that removal work “must take place pursuant to the HSE regulations for the petroleum activities, and on the basis of considerations including consent and decommissioning plans.”

The production from the Gaupe field ceased in 2018 and based on the formal removal resolution, decommissioning needs to be completed by the end of 2026. In September 2022, Shell hired a rig, owned by CIMC and managed by Odfjell Drilling, to permanently plug and abandon nine wells at four different well locations across two fields, Knarr and Gaupe. 

Located in the central part of the North Sea close to the border to the UK sector, about 35 kilometres south of the Sleipner Øst field, the Gaupe field lies in a water depth of 90 metres. It was discovered in 1985, and the plan for development and operation (PDO) was approved in 2010. The development concept was two single horizontal subsea wells tied to the Armada Complex on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) and production began in 2012.

The Gaupe field comprises two production wells in the Norwegian sector – Gaupe North and Gaupe South –  and fluids from the two drill centres were commingled at the Gaupe SSIV manifold, located close to the Armada Complex in the central North Sea, 250 km East of Aberdeen in the UKCS.

Approval-in-principle for cessation of production (CoP) of the Armada Hub and associated tie-backs was granted in August 2016. However, the Armada Complex was divested to Chrysaor Holdings Limited in November 2017 with the intent of extending field life and CoP has been deferred. The Gaupe wells and associated subsea infrastructure were not part of the divestment and remained within the Shell portfolio.