Revolutionary P & A – melting rock using Thermite – Mike Richardson, Spirit Energy

January 2018

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Revolutionary P&A – Melting Rock Using Thermite

Mike Richardson, Head of Wells Function and TA, Spirit Energy


As the mature oil and gas basins of the world increasingly turn their attention to decommissioning, well abandonment costs have become an intense focus. New tools, techniques and guidelines are all emerging. One of the more radical approaches has been to seal off the reservoir by recreating the cap rock using intense heat to melt the formation and well components. This creates an in-situ pressure barrier in place of cement or other more traditional materials. The technique can potentially be used through tubing without the need for a drilling rig and would then have a dramatic impact on P&A costs. The technique has been tested in a small number of land wells and plans are in place to take it offshore.


SquareMike Richardson been in the upstream energy business for more than thirty years and in that time worked for oil companies, service companies, drilling contractors and consultancies. He has been fortunate enough to work in many regions of the world on interesting and varied projects and with the diverse range of cultures that contribute to our industry. He has degrees in both Geology (Liverpool) and Petroleum Engineering (Imperial College).

Early years, predominantly at the well-site, involved the sharp end of drilling and well operations, both on and offshore. Later moving into a well engineering planning and design role before progressing to people and project management, Mike is now in the Technical Function at Spirit Energy where the role is predominantly technology, assurance, standards, performance and competence.

Characterised as a generalist who has the capability to bring different and sometimes ‘siloed’ discipline groups together to deliver a better result. Aims to be creative and help people think beyond their normal limits. Enjoys coaching younger engineers and interviewing candidates for EI membership and Chartered status.

Worked extensively with Oil & Gas UK as work group Co-Lead to produce integrity and other guidelines for the industry.

A member of the SPE and EI. CEng. Living in Aberdeen. Main work areas are currently UK, Netherlands, Norway.





Member rates apply to members of: SPE, EI, AXIS, IChemE, ICoTA, IMC, OGUK

If you encounter any problems while making this booking please contact Diane Wood