Oil firms sweat ageing North Sea assets to stave off shutdowns

Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:02am EDT
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* Services firms compete for late life assets

* $335 billion prize still up for grabs

* More "wrench time", less form filling

* Streamlining processes and better planning are vital

By Claire Milhench

LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) - Smaller oil producers are teaming up with engineering and oil services companies in Britain's North Sea to squeeze extra drops from ageing facilities before rising costs force them to close.

Improving "wrench time" - hours spent at worksites rather than on assessments and form-filling - and bringing in specialist teams to boost recovery rates, will help prevent early decommissioning, industry participants say.

Oil services companies are competing to take on "late life" asset work, providing the expertise that smaller producers lack.

"There's more of a reliance on our engineering and construction project management knowledge to fill the void that may be there," said Alan Johnstone, managing director, brownfield and asset management at oil services company AMEC.   Continued...