A fraternity of top oil executives and city financiers are injecting more than £65 million into Well-Safe Solutions (WSS), a well decommissioning pundit. The new round of investment is meant to solve one of Britain’s most daunting industrial problems.
Sky News learnt that the new WSS investors include MW&L Capital Partners and former BP boss Tony Hayward.
The newly launched private investment firm, MW&L Capital Partners is bound to become one of the biggest shareholders in the well decommissioning company. The former BP chief executive Tony Hayward will also be taking part in Well-Safe’s new round of funding that will foster the expansion of its new “plug and abandon” (P&A) approach. P&A is Well-Safe’s innovative technique for decommissioning redundant oil wells across the UK.
The multi-billion oil industry keeps growing by the day. The Oil and Gas Authority’s estimates put future decommissioning costs to operators at £45 to £77 billion, out of which less than half will be used in removing and making wells safe.
Founded by a team of three industry experts including Abbots founder Alasdair Locke, WSS also received another round of funding from Scottish Enterprises. Other than helping run WSS, Locke also oversees the growth and development of the UK’s largest operator of vehicle fueling stations, Motor Fuel Group.
The North UK alone has about 5,000 wells, 1,000 of which are subsea and will require decommissioning. Well-Safe Solutions is keen on exploiting a substantial portion of that number.
The cost of decommissioning oil wells is partly shouldered by the taxpayers. In its five-year plan, WSS plans on using its Plugging and Abandoning (P&A) old wells approach to significantly cut costs and make wells safer, and also create more than 400 jobs, over three years.
Sources reveal that WSS has already sealed a couple of P&A contracts, and its engineering wing is already generating substantial revenues.
The company’s other co-founder and executive director Mark Patterson is set to step down and pave way for a new director appointed by the new investors. MW&L investment into the well-decommissioning firm marks one of the biggest funding deals since WSS’s establishment.
Once the deal is finalized, one of MW&L’s co-founders Julian Metherell is expected to join the board of WSS. MW&L has invested in various sectors including financial services, shipping, retail, and renewable energy.
Julian is expected to bring on board his wealth of experience as part of MW&L’s commitment to WSS.
When contacted by Sky News on Sunday, both WSS and MW&L declined to comment on the deal.