Acquisition will create 90 jobs

Well-Safe strikes key deal in decommissioning plan

A company in Aberdeen has struck a key deal in its bid to become a major player in the decommissioning industry.

Well-Safe Solutions says it will add 90 jobs to its 40-strong payroll following the acquisition of the Ocean Guardian unit, a semi-submersible decommissioning drilling rig.

It will invest about $100m (£75m) on upgrading the unit for well plugging and abandonment (P&A) which will play a part in its ambitions to grab a share of a growing global market. Research has indicated there are more than 33,000 wells worldwide to be decommissioned over the next 20 years. The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) predicted in June 2017 that almost £60 billion would have to be spent on dismantling North Sea infrastructure.

The company is already in talks to expand through the acquisition of a second semi-submersible asset. Executive director Mark Patterson, 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.”

When it launched in August 2017 the company pledged to create more than 400 jobs in three years and invest in excess of £200m on assets. It has secured a 40,000 sq ft marine and logistics base in Dundee.

Chief executive Phil Milton said the firm is eyeing further purchases, adding: “We have stayed totally focused and committed to our original strategy and are delighted to have reached this agreement with Diamond Offshore for the acquisition of our first asset.”

Andy Samuel, chief executive of the OGA, added: “The OGA very much welcomes new investments and innovative business models such as this, as a key part of achieving industry’s 35 per cent decommissioning cost reduction target.”

Oil price rises

Oil prices rose to a five-month high on Tuesday, driven by OPEC-led supply cuts, US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, and escalating violence in Libya.

Brent futures hit $71.34 per barrel, before easing to $71.18, while US West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures also hit a November 2018 high at $64.77 per barrel, before easing to $64.53, up 13 cents, or 0.2%.

Goldman Sachs said it expected Brent to average $72.50 per barrel during the second quarter, up from a previous forecast of $65 per barrel.

The possibility of an economic slowdown this year has been preventing crude prices from rising even higher, traders said.


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