Case Study

TAQA: From new licence holder to North Sea operator in nine months

Supporting the smooth takeover of six fields and 30% increased production within two years


TAQA Bratani


Six North Sea fields


Well operator status in nine months 30% improved production within two years

Client Challenge

TAQA Bratani, the UK subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, was acquiring full equity in six North Sea fields from Shell and Esso.

At the time, all six fields were in production, using three steel jacket platforms, one concrete leg platform and three subsea clusters. TAQA's challenge was to assess the fields, negotiate the purchase and to smoothly take over the asset management.

For TAQA, this represented the first venture into the North Sea. Our client lacked the UK staff to manage the assets and teamed up with us to provide wells and subsurface skills.

Without Lloyd’s Register [now known as Vysus Group], we would have not been able to do what we did.

How we helped

Our proven success in building critical relationships and cooperation in complex multi-partner projects helped our client overcome their initial challenges. Our main areas of support are summarised below.

  • Performing comprehensive due diligence and operating as a trusted intermediary, supporting TAQA through the purchase and transfer of asset ownership.
  • Using our local knowledge and resources to build a competent, regulatory compliant team for TAQA. This team complemented the emerging TAQA organisation. The approach ensured continuity of production, enabling TAQA to fully take over operatorship smoothly.
  • Filling the gap while our client established a track record as a well operator in the UK. Our experience and reputation here provided an important degree of confidence. We acted as the nominated wells duty holder during the first nine months after transfer of operatorship, committing a team of 45 technical staff, based in TAQA’s new UK headquarters.
  • Managing the operation. Our experts in subsurface studies and surveillance teams, and drilling, completion, logistics and HSEQ management, provided the day-to-day and specialist competence TAQA needed to manage the field and well operations, working with the Wood Group who were the initial Duty Holder and operator.
  • Improving production. Once the new TAQA asset teams were in place, our focus changed to delivering value from the mature fields through well work-overs, infill drilling and improved reservoir management.
Challenge Solution
Transition assets safely with no interruption to production.
We ensured all necessary subsurface and wells systems were in place to allow TAQA to successfully assume ownership.
Increase production and profitability.
Our joint team
arrested oil production decline and delivered growth with a production
improvement of greater than 30% in the first two years after
Build sustainable TAQA subsurface and wells organisations to manage the UK assets.
We provided
three subsurface teams, a drilling team and a well intervention team,
who managed the assets from the time of transfer. We also put in place
the offshore supervisors and the supply chain, with corresponding
contractors for all required drilling and well management services.
Finally, we enabled TAQA to take over all associated work and contracts
as soon as the TAQA organisation had the necessary capability.


Good quality due diligence

Good quality due diligence was required to support commercial negotiations for the purchase. We provided an evaluation team, familiar with Shell practices, to carry out extensive due diligence on not only subsurface assets and asset value, but also wells and well integrity issues. We audited all available data, identified key risks and opportunities and generated production forecasts.

Development of a plan 'pre-transfer' for initial activities

Access to field and well data is critical for an efficient handover, however this could not be made available to TAQA prior to asset transfer. Instead, the data was handed over to us, so that planning work could proceed. This approach compressed the planning timeline significantly. All the data was eventually passed to TAQA, following the sale.

Recruit and build a team

In a tight personnel market, assembling a full and competent operational team was identified as a priority activity to allow transfer. We promptly established three subsurface teams, a drilling team and a well intervention team. This team was in place to operate the assets from the time of transfer. The offshore personnel largely transferred with the assets, with negligible onshore personnel transferring to TAQA. Detailed operational arrangements were required to manage the handover.

Along with an emerging TAQA management structure, we established the required services. Relevant procedures from our management system were applied, adapted and supplemented as required.

Planning procurement of long lead critical parts

Operational and critical spare parts, many of which have long lead times, were not supplied with the assets. This presented a potential risk to continuing operations and safety. We established a stock control and planning system which provided assurance that spares were available and also that resources were being used effectively.

Pre-transfer audit

A series of 'pre-transfer' audits were required to satisfy the requirements of both the seller and the regulators. A three-day audit workshop was set up which allowed Shell, TAQA, Wood Group and our personnel to carry out reviews of each others' management systems, such that each was satisfied the transfer could take place safely.

To maintain continuity of safety critical services during transfer, we put in place local service providers who were familiar with, and able to meet, all the local operational needs of the transferred assets. Consideration was given to local knowledge which existed within certain contractor organisations.

Powerful results

Assisted by us, our client successfully arrested oil production decline and delivered growth.

Our flexible, co-operative approach, using local knowledge, ensured a smooth, low-risk transition for our client. TAQA was able to move from new licence holder to North Sea operator, seeing a quicker return on investment than would have otherwise been possible.

  • Well operator status in nine months.
  • First drilling campaigns added 12MMstb in total to oil reserves.
  • Seven new wells drilled to new targets in the first 18 months after handover.
  • Production improvement of greater than 30% in the first two years after acquisition.

This project was carried out by Lloyd’s Register (LR) Energy, prior to the strategic carve out of the LR Energy business in 2020, which is now Vysus Group.

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