The founder of north-east decommissioning firm Well-Safe Solutions is to step down following a £66 million investment in the business.
Mark Patterson, who established the company in 2017 alongside industry stalwarts Alasdair Locke and Paul Warwick, said he was leaving Well-Safe in “safe and expert hands” as a consortium of private investors acquired a “major stake” in the business.
Mr Locke and Mr Warwick remain as chairman and non-executive director respectively.
The cash contributed by MW&L Capital Partners, which forms the consortium, will allow the firm to enter a new stage of planned growth by bringing its first asset, the Well-Safe Guardian, into operation early next year.
The company said it is also looking to acquire further assets to accelerate the delivery of their services in the North Sea and Europe.
Well-Safe chief executive Phil Milton said this was a long-term investment in a company which he believes is delivering a long-term solution to one of the industry’s biggest challenges.
The founders of the business said it was launched to provide a ground-breaking approach to safe and cost-efficient decommissioning which allows operators to meet the challenges and regulatory imperatives while significantly reducing costs.
Expenditure on decommissioning in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) is forecast to be £15.3 billion in the next decade. Well decommissioning accounts for approximately 49% of total spend, equating to £7.5 billion spend over the next decade. Around 5,000 wells, of which 1,000 are subsea, require to be decommissioned in the North Sea.
Mr Patterson said: “I am proud to have been involved in establishing a business that has the potential to revolutionise how we tackle well decommissioning safely, responsibly and cost-effectively.
“When embarking on this venture, I wanted to get the business onto the best footing, launching the brand and creating the right environment to attract the most experienced people in the industry to form a centre of excellence in P&A. “With these accomplished, and the first tranche of major external investment in place, the time is now right for me to step down and leave the business in safe and expert hands.”
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.”
Well-Safe now employs 70 staff and around 20 contractors.