WB BLOG: Offshore Outlook

Posted September 22, 2010

On Sept. 19, Admiral Thad Allen said, “After months of extensive operations, planning and execution under the direction and authority of the U.S. government science and engineering teams, BP has successfully completed the relief well. With this development, we can finally announce that the Macondo 252 well is effectively dead. 

“We insisted that BP develop robust redundancy measures to ensure that each step was part of a deliberate plan, driven by science, minimizing risk to ensure we did not inflict additional harm in our efforts to kill the well.”

Now that the Macondo well has officially been declared dead, the government moved to make sure that another 3,500 wells also be declared officially dead. The Department of Interior said it is requiring oil and gas companies operating in the Gulf to set permanent plugs in nearly 3,500 non-producing wells that are currently completed with a subsurface safety valve in place, and dismantle about 650 production platforms if they are no longer being used for exploration or production.

Sounds like potential new work for the vessel industry.

“We are notifying offshore operators of their legal responsibility to decommission and dismantle their facilities when production is completed,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “We have placed the industry on notice that they will be held to the highest standards of planning and operations in developing leases and today’s notice reiterates that mandate.”

A Notice to Lessees (NTL) will become effective Oct. 15, 2010. The NTL clarifies the regulation requiring decommissioning and mandates that any well that has not been used during the past five years for exploration or production must be plugged, and associated production platforms and pipelines must be decommissioned if no longer involved with exploration or production. Oil and gas companies will have 120 days to submit a company-wide plan for decommissioning the facilities and wells.

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