Well-Safe Defender rig; Source: Well-Safe Solutions (video)

WATCH: Semi-sub rig embarks on its inaugural decom job in North Sea

Aberdeen-based decommissioning services provider Well-Safe Solutions has revealed that one of its semi-submersible rigs is on its way to start its first decommissioning assignment on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

Well-Safe Defender rig; Source: Well-Safe Solutions (video)

Well-Safe Solutions announced the mobilisation of the Well-Safe Defender semi-submersible rig on Tuesday, 11 April 2023, and provided video footage of the event. This rig was converted into a decommissioning asset from a drilling rig previously known as WilPhoenix. 

“We’d like to thank everyone involved in the process of converting the semi-submersible rig into a bespoke well plug and abandonment asset. Special congratulations must go to the crew, as the rig heads to the Trees and Chestnut fields to decommission 14 wells in the North Sea,” remarked Well-Safe Solutions in a post on social media.

When July 2022 rolled in, the company secured a deal to plug and abandon (P&A) 14 wells on the UKCS, explaining that the contract represented the first job secured for the Well-Safe Defender semi-submersible rig, which was purchased in June 2022 from Awilco Drilling.

The contract was secured with Spirit Energy for the decommissioning work on the Trees and Chestnut fields. The rig was expected to mobilise in March 2023 for approximately 250 days of work. Aventus Energy supported Well-Safe Solutions and First Marine Solutions during the arrival of the Well-Safe Defender rig at the Port of Cromarty Firth.

“Target achieved: For the first time in our history, we’ve mobilised 100 per cent of our assets. The Well-Safe Defender has put to sea on behalf of Spirit Energy, less than a year on from being accepted into the Well-Safe Solutions fleet,” explained the UK player.

As a reminder, Spirit Energy started the first phase of preparing to decommission its Chestnut field in August 2021, more than a decade after it was first expected to be shut in. The field, which is located in the UK North Sea, exceeded its expected life sevenfold since it started production in 2008.

Located in blocks 16/12a and 16/7 in the Central North Sea, in a water depth of 125 metres, the Trees field is a multi-production and injection well subsea development over three separate oil accumulations tied back to the Brae Alpha platform. The production started in 1995 with an expected field life of 2023+, according to Spirit Energy.

Well-Safe Defender rig; Source: Well-Safe Solutions (video)

Mobilising the Well-Safe Defender rig

Well-Safe Solutions also won other decommissioning deals in 2022. In line with this, the firm got a decommissioning campaign – covering more than 20 wells in the Dutch and UK sectors of the North Sea – with Neptune Energy in September 2022. In addition, the company landed deals with Ithaca EnergyRepsol Sinopec and CNR International.