• Carbon storage well consents are easier to obtain

  • Process quicker for industry users saving time and money

  • New system will help improve compliance with regulatory standards

Energy transition projects have received a significant boost following yesterday’s (6 July) relaunch of the digital wells database, with improved functionality and greater flexibility.

First set up in 2002, the Wells Operations Notifications System (WONS) dealt with more than 1,100 applications in 2022 alone relating to exploration, production, development and decommissioning. It allows a company to submit online applications and notifications for well activity and the North Sea Transition Authority, (NSTA) to give those submissions proper technical scrutiny before issuing consent.

The needs of operators are changing as they adapt their businesses to support the energy transition, and WONS has been updated to assist those changing requirements including, for the first time, the ability to apply to drill a well bore specifically linked to a carbon storage licence.

There are over 12,500 wellbores in UK waters of the North Sea, with around 5,500 wells plugged and abandoned.

The need to consider reusing or repurposing wells as part of the decommissioning process is now a higher priority and the system amendments will allow more accurate information on final well abandonment to be gathered and scrutinised by the NSTA. This will allow better assessment for possible future use, such as playing a part in carbon storage.

The greater flexibility of the system also allows users to record more detailed information on the identity and role of companies responsible for the wellbore, and also those responsible for the associated data. This will support greater compliance and provide more granular information for future reference.

Wellbores that cross the Median Line – operating in UK and Norwegian or Dutch waters – created time-consuming difficulties in the previous system, which have now been resolved saving valuable time and money for both operators and the NSTA.

A special introduction and training session was held to familiarise licensees with the improved functionality and operation.

Nic Granger, NSTA Director of Corporate, said:

“We have updated the system with the needs of users in mind. It is now much quicker, easier to use and responsive to their real day-to-day requirements.

“The more accurate and more detailed information it now collects will be very useful in making decisions about potential reuse and repurposing of wells and siting of carbon storage locations.”

Notes to editors:

For further information please contact: 

Tel: 07785 655620 

Email: pressoffice@nstauthority.co.uk