Well abandonment services provider Well-Safe Solutions has agreed to acquire the Ocean Guardian semi-submersible drilling unit, sparking another jobs boost for the company.
The rig, currently owned by Diamond Offshore, has been a stalwart in the North Sea, drilling hundreds of wells since entering service in 1985.
Well-Safe said on Tuesday that, upon delivery, the company will start work immediately on an upgrade of the semi-submersible, which will be renamed the ‘Well-Safe Guardian’, converting the asset into a bespoke plug and abandonment (P&A) unit.
Well-Safe will invest in the region of $100 million dollars on upgrades. This will include installing a dive system and the capability to deploy a SIL (subsea intervention lubricator) – which is nearing completion of the design and engineering phase, supported by the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC).
Well-Safe confirmed that the acquisition would bring a further ninety jobs to the North Sea over the course of the next year, adding to the company’s current forty employees.
According to the company, this is the first time a privately-owned, Scottish business will own and operate this type of unit. The company is already progressing conversations to add a second semi-submersible to its business. This will be followed by a jack-up, mono-hull vessel, and land-based P&A units.
Mark Patterson, Executive Director, who heads up the asset purchase program, said: “This is a major milestone in Well-Safe’s journey and one that is in-line with our strategy. It’s great to have The Ocean Guardian, which has a great reputation on which we will build, as our first asset.”
Aberdeen-based Well-Safe was launched in August 2017 with a vision to become a ‘Tier One’ wells decommissioning company.
Andy Samuel, CEO of OGA, commented: “The OGA very much welcomes new investments and innovative business models such as this, as a key part of achieving industry’s 35% decommissioning cost reduction target. Joint well plug and abandon campaigns, using the club approach should not only prove to be more cost efficient, but also help build UK supply chain expertise in decommissioning which is then globally exportable.”
Phil Milton, Chief Executive Officer of Well-Safe Solutions said: “We have stayed totally focused and committed to our original strategy and are delighted to have reached this agreement with Diamond Offshore for the acquisition of our first asset, which will allow us to deliver the complete P&A solution.”
“We have had a number of in-depth conversations with potential clients and believe the purchase of this asset will allow us to advance these towards firm commitments to our P&A Club.”
Research has indicated there are over 33,000 wells worldwide to be decommissioned over the next twenty years. Well-Safe’s long-term goal is to export its model and advance from the UK into this global marketplace.
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