Brent Field Timeline
We began the long-term planning necessary for the decommissioning of Brent Field life in 2006. We recognised then that this is a huge, complex and technically challenging undertaking. At present, we are nearing the conclusion of our studies investigating options for decommissioning together with wide internal and external consultation.
A history of innovation
Late 1970s: Three enormous gas compression modules were built to re-inject gas into the reservoir. At the time, these contained the world’s largest offshore reciprocating compressors.
1977: A pipeline from the Brent Field to St Fergus in Scotland was completed. It was the world’s largest single welded pipeline at the time.
Late 1990s: Brent Field undertook what was at the time the world’s largest oil field depressurisation. It remains one of the largest engineering projects ever undertaken in the North Sea.
2000: The Brent Field was externally benchmarked as the highest-performing North Sea field. It was also internationally recognised as leading in the management of its facilities.
In the 1980s, the Brent Field was consistently producing over 400,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day – enough oil in a year to provide energy to over 12 million homes. In 1982, production peaked at 504,000 barrels of oil per day. The one billionth barrel of oil was produced from the Brent Field in March 1987.
By the early 1990s, the Brent Field was supplying 13% of the UK’s oil and 10% of the UK’s gas needs. In the mid-1990s, Shell started an ambitious project to convert the field from a majority of oil production to one focused predominantly on gas. This cost £1.2 billion and provided jobs for more than 3,000 people.
By 2001, the Brent Field was yielding record levels of gas production; 25.5 million cubic metres per day. Its total oil and gas production reached 700,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The redevelopments, planning and commitment of everyone involved led to Brent’s pre-eminence in the UK sector of the North Sea. It has even given its name to the oil benchmark that is used to price two-thirds of the world’s internationally traded crude oil.
Brent’s contribution to the uk economy
In its lifetime, Brent has generated over £20 billion in tax revenues for the UK Government and provided a significant amount of the UK’s oil and gas.
The Brent Field has supported tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs, and the UK’s oil and gas supply chain generally. This has helped many UK companies enter the global oil and gas marketplace. At the time of its early development, Brent was one of the deepest offshore oil fields in the world. The skills gained by UK companies in its supply chain have now been exported globally.
More on Brent Decommissioning
We produce energy from the UK North Sea in waters more than one hundred metres deep, but world-wide there may be as many as 300 billion barrels of recoverable oil in waters up to several kilometres deep.
Shell is a major energy producer in the UK and produces oil and gas from more than 65 interests in the North Sea. We produce around 13% of the country's oil and gas.
See how we have pioneered new technologies in the North Sea that are now used elsewhere in the world.