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OGTC and Spirit Energy celebrate excellence in collaboration at Decom North Sea Awards

The Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) and Spirit Energy celebrated their “Excellence in Collaboration” award at the Decom North Sea Awards last night (28 May 2019). This recognises outstanding teamwork in delivering a transformational approach for developing decommissioning technology.  

A Thermite Collaboration Forum was established by The OGTC and Spirit Energy, making it possible to accelerate qualification through a pioneering new technique. Using an exothermic chemical reaction, generated using thermite to melt the wellbore components and surrounding formation, this recreates the cap rock and establishes a permanent barrier.

Through unprecedented sharing of resources and experience, the forum brought together the technology developer and operators (including ENI, Shell, ExxonMobil, BP, Spirit Energy, Repsol Sinopec and Total), as well as the HSE and OGA, to accelerate successful development.

Malcolm Banks, Wells Solution Centre Manager at the OGTC commented:

“Traditionally, there has been hesitation to openly discuss technology successes and failures. By instigating the Thermite Collaboration Forum, we have been able to facilitate open sharing of deployment and verification experiences. This has accelerated qualification of the product as a barrier material which should help industry reap the rewards with the technology being ready within the next two years.

“The forum demonstrated that a high level of collaboration is possible, without commercial alignment. It’s been refreshing to see a wide range of stakeholders work together so freely as one for a shared end goal. This wasn’t just information sharing; making resources available, lab work and access to field trials all contributed to the success of this project.”

This technique is highly significant in terms of plug and abandonment costs for wells. The OGTC has estimated this new technology to have a potential value to industry exceeding £100 million per year.  

Mike Richardson, Wells TA at Spirit Energy commented:

“The introduction of the forum was a crucial part of breaking impasses brought about by traditional silo working. We have demonstrated the importance of strong leadership and pioneering new ways of working that can be shared and adopted across the industry.”

The OGTC also celebrated with two of its other developers, who were separately nominated. Ardent were also shortlisted in the “Excellence in Collaboration” category for their work with The OGTC in developing the Archimedes jacket buoyancy removal device.

Ecosse IP won the “Outstanding Innovation” award for their Ambient Lifter technology, an innovative subsea lifting device; a project which will drive significant cost savings for both subsea installation and decommissioning challenges – a project supported by The OGTC.