RGU, in cooperation with funding partners The Oil and Gas Technology Centre, KCA Deutag and Drilling Systems, with technical support from Baker Hughes, a GE Company (BHGE), has established a simulator, which along with its software are world's first, and focuses on well-plugging and abandonment (P&A).

P&A is expected to cost the UK more than £8 billion over the next decade, with around 2,500 wells expected to be decommissioned across the UK, Danish, Dutch and Norwegian Continental Shelves.

The simulator is able support both oil and gas operators and service companies with the planning and preparation for well P&A, in a similar way pilots get trained and tested on flight simulators.

The simulator aims enhance the safety, improve the efficiency and reduce the cost associated with decommissioning oil and gas wells.

Credit: RGU

RGU’s partnership with The Oil & Gas Technology will also create new opportunities to develop and test technologies, accelerating new solutions in collaboration with the industry and technology providers, the University said.

Professor Paul de Leeuw, Director of RGU’s Oil and Gas Institute, believes the development of this unique decommissioning simulator will have numerous benefits for the industry and notes that: “By providing this facility at RGU to simulate well decommissioning, we will ultimately be able to enhance safety and reduce the cost of well P&A. Operators and drilling contractors will be able to use the simulator to develop the technical and non-technical skills and capabilities of their rig crews for decommissioning wells, while improving team performance.” 

Training and development on the simulator will not only benefit the industry, but students as well.

Clive Battisby, COO Drilling Systems, added: “Working once again with RGU, the new decommissioning simulator shows how our close collaborative partnership and expertise really works to create truly custom cutting edge real-time training simulations and systems. In this case using the physical tool data and CAD drawings taken from customer’s real-world downhole tools, has been added into the simulation to create a package of decommissioning tools to allow knowledge and skills to be learnt in a safe learning and very realistic environment.”