WOODSIDE Energy is to decommission 36 historical exploration wells across Western Australia’s North West Shelf.

Thirty of the wells are in Commonwealth waters around 117 km northwest of Dampier and six wells are located in Commonwealth waters around 170 km northwest of Dampier.

Twenty of the wells are permanently abandoned and plugs have been installed in the wells to prevent hydrocarbon release to the environment. The remaining sixteen wells are currently being assessed for their suitability to be accepted as permanently abandoned.

Wellheads will be removed using an abrasive water jet cutting method or diamond wire saw. Activities are anticipated to commence in the second half of this year with the removal of abandoned wellheads.

The work will be carried out using an offshore support vessel, which may be supported by a general support vessel. The vessels will operate on dynamic positioning (DP) and won’t be anchored to the seabed.

Each well is anticipated to take up to three days to remove but could require as much as 10 days depending on weather conditions, vessel availability or other unforeseen circumstances.

Vessels are expected to operate 24 hours a day during the removal process.

Woodside spent approximately US$447 in 2023 decommissioning several projects including the 18 Enfield wells 38km north of the North West Cape in Western Australia.