ABERDEEN, UK – Shell says a 30-day public consultation will begin on Monday, Feb. 16, on the company’s plans to start decommissioning the Brent oil and gas field in the UK northern North Sea.
Brent has produced around 10% of all UK North Sea oil and gas since production started in 1976, Shell claims. However, the Brent Delta platform ceased production in 2011 and Brent Alpha and Bravo followed last November. Only Brent Charlie remains in production mode.
The decommissioning program for the Brent Delta platform, the first of the four installations scheduled for removal, recommends that the 23,500-metric ton (25,904-ton) topsides is withdrawn in one piece by Allseas’ new heavy-lift vessel Pieter Schelte.
Work is under way to strengthen the topsides in anticipation of the lift, which will be one of the heaviest in the North Sea to date. Shell stresses, however, that the single-lift technique should substantially reduce the risk, cost, and environmental impact of the operation.
Assuming approval for the decommissioning program from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the topsides will be transported to the yard of decommissioning specialist Able UK in Teesside on the northeast England coast. Here, more than 97% of the material will be reused or recycled.
Shell says it will submit a second decommissioning program for the remaining infrastructure in the Brent field, including Brent Delta’s jacket, the three other platform topsides and substructures, 140 wells and 28 pipelines, when it is confident the proposals are safe, technically achievable, environmentally sound, and financially responsible. This will be subject to a separate consultation.
Representatives from more than180 organizations, including the University of Aberdeen and independent scientific specialist, experts have been engaged in development of Brent’s decommissioning programs since 2007.