RNS Number : 4993V
Plexus Holdings Plc
13 January 2012
Plexus Holdings PLC / Index: AIM / Epic: POS / Sector: Oil equipment & services
13 January 2012
Plexus Holdings PLC ('Plexus' or 'the Company')
GBP260,000 JIP Development and Testing Funding from Maersk Oil UK for up to 20,000 psi HP/HT Mudline Tieback Wellhead System Development
Plexus Holdings PLC, the AIM quoted oil and gas engineering services business and owner of the proprietary POS-GRIP(R) friction-grip method of wellhead engineering, announces that it has received GBP260,000 funding from Maersk Oil North Sea UK Limited ('Maersk Oil UK'), a leading independent oil and gas company operating in the North Sea, towards the Company's 20,000 psi High Pressure/ High Temperature ('HP/HT') Mudline Tieback wellhead system Joint Industry Project ('JIP') development programme.
Testing and manufacturing of the prototype is underway with assembly scheduled for the third quarter of this financial year, and final deployment and commercialisation is targeted for mid-2012.
The Tieback system design, which will utilise Plexus' metal-to-metal 'HG'(R) seals, will allow HP/HT exploration wells and pre-drilled production wells to be converted into either subsea or platform producing wells. These wells, which have an estimated cost of between GBP50 million and GBP300 million, are currently abandoned after drilling and to date there is no other technology in the market which can 'save' or 'convert' such wells. In addition, the HP/HT Mudline Tieback technology has the potential to shorten the development cycle of an oil and gas field by several years and in turn provide further substantial financial benefits, as it would allow the pre-drilling of production wells to commence before a production platform is put in place.
Plexus' CEO Ben Van Bilderbeek said, "This funding is a very positive development for our HP/HT Mudline Tieback wellhead system JIP development programme, which we believe, once commercialised, has the potential to become one of the most far reaching and financially beneficial developments in the economics of HP/HT jack-up oil and gas drilling programmes seen in many years."
Background to Tieback
In 2009 Plexus initiated a project to design and manufacture a product which would enable HP/HT exploration wells on jack-up rigs to be converted into production wells. Currently, once an HP/HT exploration well has been drilled, irrespective of whether or not the well has been assessed as being commercially viable as a producing well, it is permanently abandoned on the sea bed. No product exists which can achieve a 'tieback' to such wells in HP/HT conditions This is in part due to existing standard mudline suspension technology using threaded connections which cannot be reliably reconnected or tested with the corrosion resistant materials required for HP/HT production. POS-GRIP, Plexus' patented wellhead technology, which utilises friction grip technology (not threaded connections) has demonstrated that an up to 20,000 psi HP/HT Mudline Tieback can be achieved without requiring any rotation and uses POS-GRIP to set metal to metal 'HG'(R) seals to offer a tieback connection, and which can be qualified to the same standards as existing casing connections in the well.
Jack-up rig - a mobile platform that stands still on the sea floor from which exploration and oil and gas production activities can be conducted.
HG(R) seals - high grade metal seals which can be set directly between a hanger and the bore of the wellhead. No separate annular packoff is required, saving costs, reducing installation time and enhancing reliability.
For further information please visit www.posgrip.com or contact:
Ben van Bilderbeek Plexus Holdings PLC Tel: 020 7795 6890
Graham Stevens Plexus Holdings PLC Tel: 020 7795 6890
Jon Fitzpatrick Cenkos Securities PLC Tel: 020 7397 8900
Ken Fleming Cenkos Securities PLC Tel: 0131 220 6939
Felicity Edwards St Brides Media & Finance Tel: 020 7236 1177
Notes to Editors:
Plexus Holdings PLC, which began trading on AIM in December 2005, is an oil and gas engineering and services business, which supplies wellhead and mudline suspension equipment for exploration and production applications. Based in Aberdeen, with offices in London, Cairo, Kuala Lumpur and a presence in Houston, Texas, it has developed and patented a friction-grip method of engineering for oil and gas field wellheads and connectors, POS-GRIP(R), which involves deforming one tubular member against another to effect gripping and sealing.
The Company plans to accelerate the roll out of POS-GRIP wellhead equipment as a superior alternative to current technology and for it to become the future industry standard for wellhead design. In particular, the technology has advantages in High Pressure/High Temperature (HP/HT) and Extreme HP/HT (X-HP/HT) oil and gas environments, for which there is growing global demand and where Plexus is being increasingly recognised as the supplier of choice. Importantly, the Company is focussed on extending its proprietary technology into an increasing number of subsea applications. In line with this, in March 2011 the Company launched an initiative to develop a new subsea wellhead design, HGSS(TM), utilising its friction-grip technology in collaboration with key oil and gas operators and service companies. Royal Dutch Shell, Wintershall, Maersk, Tullow Oil and the UK entity of the world's largest offshore drilling company have joined the initiative to date. The HGSS subsea wellhead design will include a combination of key features never before seen in a subsea wellhead which include being rated to 15,000 psi, 4,000,000 pounds of 'instant' casing lockdown capacity, annulus pressure monitoring and access for 'bleed off' capability to address sustained casing pressure ('SCP') issues which are recognised by the API as a serious industry problem, and rigid metal annular seal technology qualified to match the performance of premium casing. Development is expected to be completed by mid 2013 calender year.
To date, POS-GRIP wellhead systems have been used or selected to be used in over 150 oil and gas wells by international companies including Apache Energy Australia, BHP Billiton, BG International, Bowleven plc, BP, Brunei Shell Petroleum, Cairn Energy, Centrica, ConocoPhillips, Dana Petroleum, Dubai Petroleum, GDF SUEZ, Global Santa Fe, Maersk, Niko Resources, Petro-Canada Trinidad & Tobago, Red Sea Petroleum Operating Company, Repsol, RWE, Senergy Limited, Shell Egypt, StatoilHydro, Silverstone Energy, Talisman Energy, Tullow Oil, and Wintershall.
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