A transparent process

Shell UK and Esso Exploration and Production UK (Esso) engage with people and organisations who have an interest in, or who are impacted by, the decommissioning of the Brent Field. Listening and talking to interested parties who live and work alongside us is vital to successful decommissioning. We want to understand the views of as many affected or interested parties as possible.

The consultation process with stakeholders has tremendous benefits. It can provide fresh insights and ideas to solve the challenges surrounding projects of this scale. It also guides our recommendations by ensuring that the widest possible range of options is explored. The process assures that the solutions we will propose are robust and responsible.

Our goal is to ensure the Decommissioning Programme that is presented to the UK Government represents a clear way forward for everyone with a stake in the project.

Sound science

Since 2007, we have received input from around 180 organisations. These have included local and national Government agencies, industry bodies, trade unions, environmental groups and community associations. For example, in 2013, we talked to more than 60 individual groups and hosted stakeholder events in Aberdeen and London, where Shell project staff presented on a number of the Decommissioning Programme elements.

When the Brent decommissioning work began in 2006, Shell and Esso asked Professor John Shepherd from Southampton University to head an Independent Review Group (IRG) for the project. Professor Shepherd appointed a team of leading academics whose role has been to objectively review all the scientific and engineering assessments of the various decommissioning options proposed. The IRG validates the science which underpins our conclusions.

Stakeholder sessions – IMechE talk, London (July 2016)

Watch this video of our talk at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) in London. Project Director Alistair Hope and Business Opportunity Manager Duncan Manning share recommendations for how the Brent Decommissioning team plan to carry out this significant engineering operation.

Stakeholder contribution – Cell Management Stakeholder Task Group (CMSTG)

Consultation has contributed to solving some specific decommissioning challenges. For example, a stakeholder focus group was formed to contribute to the discussions on how best to decommission the large concrete subsea cells that lie beneath three of the four Brent platforms. Some of these cells have been used for oil storage and separation and contain some legacy oily residue and sediment together with sea water. The focus group developed a model that weighs up the options for decommissioning the cells safely and effectively. This model has been helpful in allowing us to converge on our own recommendation.

Specific stakeholder input contributed to our decision to retrieve samples of oil water and sediment from the cell contents in 2014 and has aided us in confirming options to deal with the residual contents. Stakeholders have also provided comments on the options surrounding for possible removal of the platforms’ concrete legs as well as the long-term monitoring of any structures that may be left in place.

The group most recently met in November 2015 – read more about the session.

Looking ahead

Submission of the plan: Our goal is to submit a Decommissioning Programme to the UK Government when all elements are ready. More stakeholder events and consultation with individual groups will take place before this submission.

Stakeholder report: Part of our submission will be a stakeholder report. This will summarise our meetings with all stakeholders, describe the feedback we have received and explain how this has been incorporated into the programme. The report will also highlight major concerns that key stakeholders have raised and detail Shell’s response.

Public consultation: A formal consultation period will follow the submission of the Decommissioning Programme. This means that both stakeholder and the wider public will be invited to comment.

Our commitment to stakeholder engagement

Independent Review Group (IRG)

The Independent Review Group provides peer review of the quality of the studies carried out. The final responsibility for the contents of the reports however rests with their authors and Shell, and the IRG does not necessarily support or endorse every statement in the individual reports.

The specification of the work for the various studies and the selection of contractors to undertake the work lay with Shell, but the IRG was able to suggest additional topics for investigation.

The IRG will not comment on the final decommissioning options selected. Its role is to ensure that an appropriate range of options has been examined in sufficient depth, so that the information available is adequate for a rational decision to be reached by Shell.

The independence of the IRG is ensured by the IRG, or any of its members, having the right to publish its/their findings, including any objections.

Find out more about IRG activities to date

IRG Members

Professor Shepherd invited a number of experts to become members of an Independent Review Group, which started its work on 30 January, 2007. The current IRG membership includes: Professor John G. Shepherd-Chairman, Professor Torgeir Bakke, Professor Günther F. Clauss, Professor William D. Dover, Professor Jürgen Rullkötter, Professor W. Brian Wilkinson, Mr. Richard J. Clements-Secretary.

Professor Shepherd may invite others to contribute expertise to the work of the IRG as the need arises. During 2012, the need for additional expertise on the subject of reinjection of cell sediment became apparent and the following members were invited to contribute to the IRG on this subject: Professor David Davies, Professor Quentin Fisher, Professor Ian Main.

Find out more about each of the IRG members

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