• First well decommissioning guidelines for CO2 storage

Fuel for Thought

First well decommissioning guidelines for CO2 storage

Nov 23 2022

New guidance launched by Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) helps industry decommission North Sea oil and gas wells, so that subsurface formations like reservoirs can be repurposed as part of the infrastructure used to permanently store Carbon Dioxide (CO2) offshore.

Working with well operations specialists, operator companies, consultancies and academia, OEUK was commissioned by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to produce the first ever ‘Well Decommissioning for CO2 storage guidance’. The work drew on a government consultation on the re-use of oil and gas assets for Carbon Capture and Storage projects.

Carbon Capture and Storage is one of five commitments the offshore energy sector is delivering as part of the North Sea Transition Deal, with the aim of enabling large parts of UK industry and society to radically cut greenhouse gas emissions.  The Deal is a transformational agreement between the UK Government and the offshore energy industry to make energy cleaner, support jobs, deliver net zero emissions and ensure energy security.

The new guidance outlines what oil and gas operators must consider for decommissioning wells with a view to retain structural integrity when repurposing depleted reservoirs. For CO2 storage developers, the guidelines help support the verification process and permitting procedures for CO2 storage projects.

Mark Wilson, OEUK’s HSE & Operations Director, said:  “Carbon capture and Storage can play an essential role in helping the UK meet its target of net zero emissions by 2050. These guidelines demonstrate how OEUK and our members are using existing offshore energy expertise to support the development of carbon capture projects at scale. By sharing our growing decommissioning expertise, we can help the UK supply chain develop world-class decommissioning capabilities that have great potential for exporting in the future.”

As part of the industry’s ongoing commitment to continually review and improve the performance of all aspects of offshore operations, OEUK is releasing new editions of its ‘Well Decommissioning Guidelines’ and its guidance for ‘Use of Barrier Materials in Well Decommissioning’. The updates share expertise to help manage these activities more effectively, while maintaining the highest safety and environmental standards.

In addition to well operations specialists, operator companies, consultancies and academia, OEUK’s guidelines have been produced with the support of the Health and Safety Executive, the North Sea Transition Authority and BEIS.


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