Well plugging and abandonment

Interest in plugging and abandonment (P&A) technologies is concentrated with large and medium size operators who hold the greatest share of well stock to be abandoned. There are technology opportunities to:

  • support planning optimisation
  • make the process of well abandonment more cost effective
  • introduce alternative approaches to P&A

Operators have a growing interest in the benefits of technology in this area and its contribution to lower the overall UKCS P&A cost estimate.


Industry insights

  • To achieve the target of a 35% reduction in decommissioning costs, operators must reduce the cost overall cost of well P&A
  • Rig-less operations, improved casing milling tools alongside alternative cutting technologies (laser, plasma, water jet) could reduce costs
  • Alternatives barriers to cement (bismuth alloys, resin, thermite, natural barriers) are under trail and assessment
  • The majority of technology needs are looking to emerging solutions, but existing and enhanced technologies are delivering real benefits
  • Through tubing logging remains a challenge, but advances in tools (pulsed neutron, x-ray, ultrasonic) and data processing techniques are improving imaging
  • Collaborative initiatives can provide an essential contribution to technology development

Technology categories

Technology maturity

  • Well data management and campaign planning
  • Cement-bond logging
  • Thru-tubing barrier placing
  • Efficient section milling
  • Bond-logging through multiple casing strings
  • Alternative casing removal techniques (e.g. laser, plasma)
  • Alternative barriers (e.g. thermite, bismuth, and natural barriers)