New Challenges in the North Sea
"The North Sea oil and gas industry is increasingly confronted with ageing platforms and exhausted reservoirs. In this area, there are a relatively large number of platforms and drilling locations that will soon be reaching the end of their service life or are already at this stage," says Tobias Löprich, responsible for technical documentation and risk assessments at MAX STREICHER GmbH. Therefore many drill holes need to be decommissioned and sealed in accordance with the local statutory provisions – also referred to as 'plug and abandonment'.
The problem is that the jack-up rigs used in the North Sea rarely feature the equipment that would enable the drill holes to be decommissioned in an economic or technically correct manner. Tobias Löprich explains: "This may be down to gas or oil installations being positioned incorrectly on the sea bed, meaning that it is impossible to make any progress using the standard jack-up platforms."