Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University (RGU) launched a state-of-the-art decommissioning simulator to service the growing sector.
The simulator and the associated software is a world-first and will be used to support decommissioning activities in the UK and other parts of the world.
RGU, in collaboration with funding partners The Oil & Gas Technology Centre, KCA Deutag and Drilling Systems, with technical support from Baker Hughes, a GE Company (BHGE), has established the simulator to focus on well-plugging and abandonment (P&A).
P&A is an area which is forecast 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 can 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 is a truly unique capability for RGU and for the industry and it has the potential to significantly enhance the safety, improve the efficiency and reduce the cost associated with decommissioning oil and gas wells.
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.
He said: «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.This has been a collaborative approach between RGU, The Oil & Gas Technology Centre, KCA Deutag, Drilling Systems and BHGE, all of whom we have worked extremely closely, which has ensured the smooth delivery of this truly innovative facility», de Leeuw noted.