Well Abandonment and Suspension
- Consent Needed and How to Obtain It
- Performance Standards
- Sampling/Monitoring Requirements
- Reporting Requirements
- Non Compliance
- Renewal and Variation
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ChemicalsThere may be chemical use/discharge requirements during well abandonment. These may be applied for by a Well Intervention Permit or covered within the drilling chemicals permit (Drilling Operations permit) for the operation or by an installation-decommissioning permit (Production Operation permit or Decommissioning Operation permit).Oily DischargesAny deliberate release of oil (reservoir hydrocarbons only) planned during a well suspension or abandonment must be subject to an Oil Discharge permit. Application will be via an oil discharge permit (see below)Deposits to SeabedA licence under the Marine and Coastal Access Act or Marine (Scotland) Act will be required.
A licence under the Marine and Coastal Access Act or Marine (Scotland) Act will be required.
If there are intentions to use explosives in abandonment operations, discussions must be held with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and JNCC to ensure that consideration is given to any habitats or species protected under the Offshore Petroleum Activities (Conservation of Habitats) Regulations 2001. See JNCC Guidance on Use of Explosives (PDF document). Information contained in the Habitats Regulatory Assessment and European Protected Species licencing pages may also be of use.
Consent to Locate
|How to Apply:
Well Intervention PermitA Well Intervention Permit must be completed for the proposed suspension or abandonment of a well. This should detail (amongst others):
If additional permits are required, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero will contact the operator based on information provided in the Well Intervention Permit. This is expected to be unlikely except in exceptional circumstances.
As soon as the need for well suspension or abandonment is known. Permit must be in place before well abandonment.
|Who to Apply To:
|Well Intervention PermitsTo be submitted electronically to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero via the UK Oil Portal. Operators will need to be registered with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero for access to the Portal. To set up a UK Oil Portal Account, contact the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero OED Environmental Management Team at firstname.lastname@example.orgMCAA LicenceMCAA licences are applied for as a standalone application in the new PETS system via the UK Oil Portal. Draft guidance can be found here (PDF document).
|When to Apply:
|Well Intervention PermitAs soon as the need for well suspension or abandonment is known. Permit must be in place before well abandonment.MCAA LicenceMCAA licences area applied for as a standalone application in the new PETS system via the UK Oil Portal. Draft guidance can be found here (PDF document).If explosive use is planned, discussions should be held with Department for Energy Security and Net Zero/JNCC as early as possible.
The well must be abandoned in such a way to ensure that as far as is reasonably practicable, there can be no unplanned escape of fluids from the well.
|Use of Explosives:
JNCC Guidance on Use of Explosives (PDF document) includes a series of mitigation measures to be considered and agreed:
|Monitoring Post Abandonment:
|What to Report:
ChemicalsNo reporting required under well intervention permits. Separate chemical reporting will be required if chemical use/discharge for the abandonment operation has been included in a separate PETS chemical permit (see Drilling Chemicals or Decommissioning Chemicals).Oily DischargesAny incidental release of oil (not covered by the Oil Discharge permit) must be reported to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero via the PON1 (Word document).ExplosivesReports detailing the marine mammal mitigation activities (MMO report) should be sent to the JNCC, or appropriate nature conservation agency, after the explosives operation has been completed. Ideally the MMO report should be sent to the JNCC by e-mail to email@example.com.
Depending on other Department for Energy Security and Net Zero requirements, there may be additional reporting requirements that will be detailed in the permit.
If a chemical permit is in place, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (then DECC) Permit Condition non-compliance Notification Form (Word document) is to be used for reporting any identified non-compliances against Chemical Permit Conditions issued under the provisions of the Offshore Chemical Regulations 2002. Examples of these may include, but are not limited to:
In addition the form may be used to notify the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero of any other applicable notifications specifically as required with the chemical permit conditions as appropriate.
|Oil or Chemical Spill:
|Any spill of oil or chemicals must be reported to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero via a PON1.
Non-compliance would include discharge of well fluids containing reservoir hydrocarbons without a valid permit being in place or at an oil in water concentration greater than 40 mg/l. Any non-compliance must be reported to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero using the OPPC non-compliance notification form (Word document), which can be downloaded from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero website along with appropriate Guidance Notes (Word document). Offences under the OPPC Regulations, include (but are not limited to) the following:
A person found guilty of an offence will on summary conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum.
|The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (then DECC) Offshore Oil and Gas Environment Unit Enforcement Policy sets out the general principles that Inspectors shall follow in relation to enforcement including prosecution.
|MCAA Licence Renewal and Variation:
|Licences will be valid for a maximum period of one year, but operators will be able to apply to renew licences that cover a range of activities.
|Offsite Reinjection of Fluid From Conductor Cutting:
|The oily fluid generated during conductor cutting cannot be reinjected offsite as the OSPAR agreement applies only to produced hydrocarbons and not to waste streams.
|SEPA has requested full details of all sources to be left behind following well abandonment and platform decommissioning. If record keeping is poor this will involve considerable time and effort.