Unique Opportunity to Meet the Operators at Well Abandonment Conference

By Graham Berry, specialist business consultant

The first wells were drilled in the North Sea in the 1960s and 1970s, transforming it into one of the world’s leading oil-producing regions. But now, half a century later, many of those initial wells are coming to the end of their lifespan.

Decommissioning in the UK is worth around £58 billion, with well abandonment alone accounting for £26 billion – 45% of the total. So, it’s only natural that oil companies big and small are looking at the most efficient, environmentally friendly – and cost effective – methods of well abandonment.

It has certainly been a hot topic amongst the global SPE community over the last few years, leading to the SPE Aberdeen 9th Well Abandonment Symposium, taking place on June 26-27 at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.

There are around 150 wells a year that need to be plugged and abandoned, but the process is expensive. So, every new piece of equipment or technique that is developed is focused on limiting costs and delegates at this year’s conference will have an unparalleled opportunity to learn from operators’ first-hand experiences.

With over 30 technical papers being presented over the two days, this is not just speculation for the future – rather it’s a chance to hear about the real-world experiences of global players like Petronas, TAQA and BP.

But the conference is more than just a series of presentations. It also provides oil companies the chance to ask questions of those most knowledgeable in the field. One stand in the dedicated exhibition space has been split amongst several operators, who will man the stand at various points during the event – including Shell, BP, Enquest, CNR, TAQA and Total. A timetable will be distributed to delegates on arrival.

This will give delegates a unique opportunity to speak to well abandonment experts from around the world; to find out what has and hasn’t work for them. For a young engineer at a small oil company, which may have an abandonment planned for the coming months, this will provide an invaluable networking opportunity and a chance to learn from experienced operators’ insights.

If you’re attending the conference, feel free to stop me and say hello. I’ll be there not just as part of the organising committee, but also to gain vital insight to benefit the HFI network.: the UK has a wealth of experience in the field of decommissioning and there is great potential for businesses to export their knowledge and expertise to overseas markets. At this event alone, there will be chances to network with representatives of Petrobras Brazil and Petronas Malaysia.

Be sure to return to the HFI blog in the days after the conference, too, where I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts and observations.