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Innovation in Decommissioning: Safeguarding Our Wells and the Environment of mobile drilling simulator By Sentinel Subsea

Innovation in Decommissioning: Safeguarding Our Wells and the Environment of mobile drilling simulator

By Sentinel Subsea


The long-term sustainability of suspended and abandoned wells is vital to the late life and decommissioning process whilst ensuring ongoing emissions reduction. There is, however, currently no legislation in place to track abandoned or decommissioned wells meaning a loss of zonal isolation could potentially go undetected.

With over 5,000 wells forecast to become plugged and abandoned in the North Sea in the not-so-distant future, the ramifications of such incidents could have a significant impact on the company responsible and the environment.

Over the last 18 months, Sentinel Subsea has taken the decommissioning industry by storm. Having quickly been nicknamed the smoke alarm of the sea because of its obvious safety features, Sentinel’s technology has the potential to significantly reduce the consequences of undetected losses of zonal isolation. Sentinel Well Integrity Fluid Tracer (SWIFT) is a revolutionary well integrity monitoring system which will reduce both operational time and costs, protect the environment and give operators peace of mind. Additionally, the solution is set to meet, if not exceed, the Oil and Gas Authority’s target of reducing decommissioning costs by 35%.

SWIFT has four key benefits:

  • Environmental stewardship: Operators that use SWIFT will be demonstrating exceptional environmental stewardship.
  • Fast action: as soon as the well loses its integrity, SWIFT provides a notification to Sentinel making subsequent remediation action, clean-up costs and financial penalties considerably less or even non-existent.
  • Operating costs: Sentinel’s passive technology eliminates the need for ROV/AUV fly-by inspection, reducing vessel time and operational costs as well as reducing carbon emissions.
  • Peace of mind: SWIFT provides a guarantee that wells are in a secure state and if a leak was to ever occur, the technology would provide a safety net to prevent further incidences.

By passively monitoring the environment, the in-situ technology comprises a unique, environmentally-sound chemical, beacon and trigger. SWIFT is sealed below the barrier within a suspended or abandoned well while an alert beacon, sensitive to the fluid tracer, is placed proximate to the well and held in place by its own trigger. Should the well’s integrity be compromised, SWIFT will emanate out, dissolving the beacon trigger which will be released to surface, where it is activated, producing a signal which alerts Sentinel to the beacon’s location.

Categorised as environmentally-friendly, further environmental concerns have also been eliminated as the chemicals at the core of SWIFT’s structure are extracted from renewable biomass material.

The company was a proud winner of Scottish EDGE’s 14th round of funding in June and, along with further funding from The Oil & Gas Technology Centre, has since successfully completed onshore field trials at Buckie Harbour with offshore trials taking place throughout September.

The significance of decommissioning in the North Sea for the industry is clear. Sentinel Subsea’s innovative solution is the ideal solution to the concern of potential unplanned emissions in the future. SWIFT provides a safer well integrity strategy, reduces both operational time and costs and safeguards our environment.

For more information visit www.sentinel-subsea.com

Published: 30-09-2019

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