Well-Safe Solutions Acquire the Ocean Guardian Drilling Unit

Louise Smyth

Well-Safe Solutions has announced that it has agreed to acquire the Ocean Guardian semi-submersible drilling unit, sparking another jobs boost for the company.

The asset, currently owned by Diamond Offshore, has been a stalwart in the North Sea, drilling hundreds of wells since entering service in 1985.

Upon delivery, Well-Safe will start work immediately on an upgrade of the semi-submersible, which will be renamed the ‘Well-Safe Guardian’, converting the asset into a bespoke plug and abandonment (P&A) unit.

Well-Safe will invest in the region of US$100 million on upgrades to deliver a truly bespoke P&A unit. This will include installing a dive system and the capability to deploy a SIL (subsea intervention lubricator) – which is nearing completion of the design and engineering phase, supported by the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC).

This is the first time a privately owned, Scottish business will own and operate this type of unit. Well-Safe is already progressing conversations to add a second semi-submersible to their business. This will be followed by a Jack-Up, mono-hull vessel and land-based P&A units.

Mark Patterson, executive director, who heads up the asset purchase programme, said: “This is a major milestone in Well-Safe’s journey and one that is in-line with our strategy.  It’s great to have The Ocean Guardian, which has a great reputation on which we will build, as our first asset.”

Launched in August 2017 with the vision to become a ‘Tier One’ wells decommissioning company, the Aberdeen-based firm is progressing swiftly to realising its ambition, boasting over 450 wells worth of experience amongst their team.

Andy Samuel, CEO of OGA, commented: “The OGA welcomes new investments and innovative business models such as this, as a key part of achieving industry’s 35% decommissioning cost reduction target. Joint well plug and abandon campaigns, using the club approach should not only prove to be more cost efficient, but also help build UK supply chain expertise in decommissioning which is then globally exportable.”