Vast savings with new plugging solutionsThe picture shows Snorre A. Photo: Equinor / Bo B. Randulff & Even Kleppa

Vast savings with new plugging solutions

Better technology can bring great savings.

Thousands of wells on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) will be plugged as the reservoirs are emptied.

This is extensive work that could end up with a price tag of several hundred billion kroner (NOK)

Cheaper plugging of these aging wells on the NCS could yield NOK 100 billion in future savings and a new export product.

In an article in Dagens Næringsliv April 19th, published on (in Norwegian), Lars Sørum, Research Director at SINTEF Industri, asks for funding for the development of technology for cheaper and more efficient plugging operations.

According to Sørum, it is realistic to believe that new solutions can cut the cost of plugging by up to 20 per cent, or NOK 100 billion.

In addition, new jobs and increased value creation are expected.

The chronicler further argues that funds for this purpose will provide the suppliers to the oil and gas industry with an extra source of income as we emerge from the corona crisis.

-Not least, plugging is important for the climate; the operations will provide lasting solutions that prevent oil, gas and CO2 from leaking from abandoned wells, Sørum writes.

There are several solutions for future plugging of wells on the NCS. One of these is, according to Sørum, using nature itself as a plug – utilizing slate in the roof rocks above the reservoir.

Slate is “crawling”, and can therefore even clog possible leakage paths for oil and gas,” the research manager writes.

In parallel, efforts are being made to develop new cement technology for wells where cement plugs will still be needed.

Finally, Sørum writes that plugging of wells is a low-hanging fruit, and new knowledge and technology in this area can give Norway a golden export commodity.

Norway’s approximately 2,300 wells is nothing compared to the world’s hundreds of thousands of active wells.