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Heriot-Watt University has been awarded major funding for a project set to benefit the North Sea oil industry in the area of well Plugging and Abandonment (P&A).

The Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) has invested £1.3million in “transformational” well plugging and abandonment ideas.

A total of 48 submissions were whittled down to a final four.

Now Heriot-Watt along with BiSN, Strathclyde University, Baker Hughes and a GE company (BHGE) have all landed the investment injection.

Over the next decade, 1,400 wells are forecast to be abandoned on the UKCS, at a cost of £7billion.

The projects are expected to facilitate a 35 per cent reduction in decommissioning costs.

Heriot-Watt University will deliver a framework for P & A wells that will evaluate their design and enhance decision-making. Cost savings through “fit-for-purpose” design and building support for deploying new technological solutions are envisaged.

Professor John Underhill, Chief Scientist, Heriot-Watt University said: “This is an exciting and innovative collaborative project that tackles an important technological challenge for the North Sea by leveraging the existing strengths of our different research groups at IPE; the project is also well-aligned with our vision for the new Mature Field Management research expertise in IPE. I am delighted to see Morteza Haghighat’s leadership in this theme and the partnership being forged with OGTC.” 

Malcolm Banks, Well Construction Solution Centre Manager added: “We’re delighted to be investing in four ideas that we think could have a transformational impact on well P&A. Competition was tough and required a rigorous review process. We’re addressing key challenges facing the industry and look forward to working with the organisations to develop their ideas into solutions that deliver real benefits.”