ABERDEEN, UK – ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) says the Brent Delta platform ceased production at the end of December.
The Brent field, 186 km (115 mi) off northeast Shetland in the UK North Sea, was discovered in 1971 by the Esso/Shell joint venture. Shell operated the development, which involved installation of four platforms and at one point delivered 10% of the UK’s gas consumption.
As production began to decline, planning started to shut down the facilities for good in 2006, and Brent Delta is the first installation to be addressed. The other three platforms will remain in operation but will be shut down in stages over the next few years.
The Brent field has around 160 wells, all of which must be P&A’d. This is under way on the Delta and Bravo platforms.
Once the work is completed, and the topsides are free of hydrocarbons – a process expected to take two to three years - dismantling can start and the topsides can be removed. This operation will involve bringing 100,000 metric tons (110,231 tons) of steel ashore, with a 95% recycling target.
ExxonMobil adds that the Brent decommissioning team plans to submit its decommissioning program to the UK regulator later this year.
The regulatory process will likely last more than one year, and decommissioning all four platforms will extend well into the next decade.