£66m investment in Aberdeen decommissioning firm

Aberdeen-based Well-Safe Solutions said on Monday it secured a new £66 million investment to fund the next phase of its plans as a “tier one well decommissioning company.”

The company said MW&L Capital Partners led the new round of investment, bringing together a consortium of private investors to acquire a major stake in the business.

Expenditure on decommissioning in the UK Continental Shelf is forecast to be £15.3 billion in the next decade, with well decommissioning accounting for almost half.

Around 5,000 wells, of which 1,000 are subsea, need to be decommissioned in the North Sea.

Well-Safe Solutions was established by North Sea industry stalwarts Alasdair Locke, Mark Patterson and Paul Warwick.

Funding from Scottish Enterprise, including investment from the Scottish Investment Bank and a regional selective assistance grant, bolstered the initial private funding provided by the major shareholders.

Alasdair Locke and Paul Warwick will remain as chairman and non-executive director respectively.

Julian Metherell of MW&L joins the Well-Safe board which also comprises Well-Safe’s senior management and Scottish Enterprise.

Founding executive director Mark Patterson will step down following the deal.

Well-Safe chief executive Phil Milton, said: “This significant investment marks the beginning of our next phase of planned growth.

“The initial private funding from our original shareholders has enabled us to build strong foundations.

“We have amassed the largest concentration of well decommissioning expertise in the North Sea, secured major plug and abandonment (P&A) contracts, and are generating significant revenues from our engineering business.

“In addition, we have acquired our first asset, the Well-Safe Guardian which is currently being upgraded and converted into a bespoke P&A asset for the industry.

“With the backing of MW&L and existing shareholders, we’ll be bringing the Well-Safe Guardian into operation in the first half of 2020 and looking to acquire further assets as planned to accelerate the delivery of our campaign-based approach to the plug and abandonment of wells in the North Sea and Continental Europe.”

Julian Metherell, a founding partner of MW&L said: “Decommissioning is one of the greatest industrial challenges we face and a sector with massive global potential.

“Well-Safe, with its wealth of well decommissioning experience, dedicated marine P&A assets and associated equipment, is the first-of-its-kind tier one company with a complete P&A capability, and is ideally placed to capitalise on this opportunity.”