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A UK industry first: shared plugging and abandonment campaign

As Conoco­Phillips extended its decommissioning work across the U.K. Southern North Sea area, it became apparent that significant opportunities existed for cost savings, innovation and efficiency relating to work on one well in particular — the KX, which is owned by Conoco­Phillips (50 percent) and BP (50 percent).

Previously in the U.K., the idea of sharing data and activities with another operator was unheard of. Today, smart commercial agreements are being embraced for the greater good, and the implications of this cooperation are far-reaching.

Burnett photo
Mike Burnett

Conoco­Phillips led the way on this front with well KX, which was shut in back in 2009 and requires permanent abandonment. It sits within a subsea manifold, which houses the Alison B3 well operated by Centrica. Taking a regional approach to the activities, the teams identified commercial opportunities that led to a smart agreement whereby Centrica would plug and abandon both KX and Alison B3.

The two wells contained synergies, having originally been drilled back in 1995 by the same jack-up drilling rig. As a result, the completions, casing design, wellheads and trees were similar, and the Alison operator was also the owner of specialty tooling interface equipment for these wells.

“Using one jack-up rig to plug and abandon wells on the manifold means significant cost savings could be realized on the rig move, interface and dive support vessel costs,” said Mike Burnett, manager, Strategy and Integration.

“Smart commercial agreements enable us to move the industry forward. The Alison operator had previously performed four subsea well plug and abandonments with the same bespoke tooling, and pulling on their expertise has let us leverage learnings across multiple wells.”