Decommissioning - Innovation & New Technology 'The Story so Far'

Posted by Lisa Bland on 14-Jun-2018 09:30:00

As part of our decommissioning offering we will be publishing a series of exclusive thought leadership blogs throughout 2018. This channel allows us to communicate directly with our readers on challenges that may be facing the industry or wider and allows us to offer some of our ideas and provide innovative solutions. We invite you to comment, share, and be a part of the growing Claxton community. If there is a particular subject you would like us to cover, please let us know. To start the series, we thought we would provide you with Claxton’s decommissioning story so far and how our industry defining technology developments and services have defined rigless and rig-based decommissioning.


Claxton has been working on well decommissioning projects for over 23 years, with a predominant market share within the North Sea. We have worked on many platform, subsea, rigless and vessel-based campaigns and have invested in creating a portfolio of comprehensive services to support this work. We are proud to offer a full marine package solution as well as platform well recovery products and services - all this under one roof. Our real value stems from encouraging operators to engage with us early and throughout the lifecycle of their assets and phases of a project and not just at the late life stage.

Over the years we have developed ground-breaking decommissioning solutions that have helped deliver  industry defining operations. An early highlight was when Claxton performed the first-ever rigless platform well abandonment campaign on the Esmond, Forbes and Gordon field. Soon after that campaign, Claxton went on to launch SWAT™, our suspended well abandonment tool which has since won awards and been used to abandon over 120 wells in conjunction with our sister company, InterMoor.

Responding to industry needs, Claxton has also gone on to develop innovative products with new technology and methods to improve and simplify P&A operations. This has included the SABRE™ abrasive cutting system along with the more recent launch of WellRaizer® – a 300Te rigless well recovery package. Claxton’s equipment has been successfully used on a number of the North Sea’s largest abandonment campaigns.


Claxton has a long-standing track record of working at various North Sea water depths and exposure to different applications. Continuous development means we are experienced in offering decommissioning packages to our clients for the following:

  • Platform wells (rigless, rig-based or combined ‘SIMOPS’)
  • Subsea wells
  • Casing recovery (drilling support operations)

We are of course aware that there are other service companies competing for decommissioning work, which is why we are constantly evolving to keep ahead of the game. We believe our complete cutting and recovery solutions set us apart from the competition.

Learn how we have put our decommissioning packages into action across numerous campaigns in our case studies.


Internal development of Claxton’s processes and standardisation will enable a robust solution to our client’s challenges. So, what does ‘robustness’ mean for Claxton? Managing Director Laura Claxton explains “to put it quite simply, it means we have integrated solutions which enable us to respond to the needs of operators in the developing decommissioning arena. Whilst we define our unique offering as one that considers best practice that can be applied at different stages of the decommissioning process, we are also able to draw from across the Acteon group of companies and third party partnerships to deliver a full service offering.”

Decom blog diagramv1


­­­We see major opportunities in the North Sea, particularly on the UKCS (UK Continental Shelf). Oil & Gas UK’s 2017 Decommissioning Insight showed that that decommissioning activity on the UKCS is greater than for the other three countries in the report, reflecting the total amount of infrastructure in the basin and the fact that an increasing number of mature assets are naturally coming to the end of their productive lives. From 2017 to 2025, decommissioning is forecast to take place on 349 fields across the four regions of the North Sea. With £17 billion forecast to be spent, there will be a particular focus on well P&A.

The decommissioning challenge is significant. Over the past two years Claxton has seen an increase in decommissioning projects in terms of quantity and work scope complexity; a trend that is predicted to continue long term. Claxton has pioneered well decommissioning over two decades, with the increased intensity and reduced margins requiring a fundamental shift for the company.

Whilst operators are now under increasing pressure to reduce decommissioning costs, the scale of cost reduction required means that Claxton look beyond immediate short-term efficiencies and think more strategically of ways to reduce costs in the long term.



“Not all problems have a technological answer, but when they do,
that is the more lasting solution.” - Andrew Grove

In support of our commitment to grow and improve the decommissioning business stream within Claxton we’ve conducted a string of internal promotions. We recognise the importance of having the right skills in our business, particularly those at the frontline, and focus on nurturing and developing the talent we already have as well as recruiting externally for specific technical roles.

Matt Marcantonio is Claxton’s newly promoted Head of Decommissioning, after building on his skills and knowledge in his former role as R&D Manager. In his new role, Matt will be overseeing our decommissioning strategy, of which an important part is how we develop our people. Matt explains: “Claxton believes in having a multi-skilled workforce; keeping places on board (POB) low. POB is a major challenge for operators and contractors alike. To aid this we have a pool of decommissioning technicians, but now the focus is complementing our current crews with more specialist roles who are experts in their field. As an example, we have recently recruited qualified hydraulic and diesel specialists. The team are able to apply their unique skills as and when called upon enabling our business to deliver a first-class experience for our clients.

“The personal and professional development of our team will continue with Claxton’s competency infrastructure which we have implemented to aid equipment familiarity. We will continue to develop and analyse our methods whilst upskilling our staff to keep up with industry demands.”


Claxton is a company poised for continued success and growth. Strategic plans include branching out into other energy markets and further strengthening our capacity and robustness of solution. We are a company which has been continuously recognised for technology reliability and this reputation is something we want to take from strength to strength.

2018 is an exciting year as we develop our decommissioning technical capability even further. Some highlights include:

  • running and recovery enhancements to the WellRaizer® tower
  • a new test facility and developments for SABRE™
  • increased water depth subsea SABRE™ manipulator

Growing partnerships

In addition to developing our workforce, we will be exploring potential international partnerships and joint ventures. We are already working with the Oil and Gas Authority who are featuring Claxton as a contractor champion in the decommissioning space. Claxton also envisages embarking on joint ventures with external companies, particularly those involved with well intervention and heavy lift vessels, whilst continuing to forge links with operators and regulators to help drive efficiencies.

We are also aligned to Acteon’s wider vision. We already offer our SWAT™ services in conjunction with sister company InterMoor and are constantly striving to draw from the Acteon Group integrated service model to strengthen our portfolio further.

The final word…

As a responsive and flexible service organisation, we aim to align our decommissioning model with those of our clients. The rewards are to drive efficiencies for those organisations and deliver an outstanding project time and time again. We strongly believe that continuing to adapt our decommissioning offer keeps us at the top of our game.

Matt concludes; “Every job and offering has a large bespoke aspect, so solutions can be unique. We can’t stand still in what is changing market and aim to continue to define rigless and rig-based decommissioning moving forward”.

Look out for the next in our series of decommissioning blogs, and if there is a particular subject you would like us to cover, please leave your thoughts and feedback below…

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Topics: decommissioning

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