Now public consultation has closed, Shell is reviewing the responses submitted and, as appropriate, updating the DP document for resubmission to BEIS.
The Brent Decommissioning Project is committed to ensuring its key stakeholders are updated regularly on the progress of the Project, and the Decommissioning Programmes (DP).
As you are aware, the Brent Decommissioning Programmes described proposals for decommissioning the facilities in the Brent field, including proposals for decommissioning of the topsides of Brent Alpha, Brent Bravo and Brent Charlie. The Programmes were subject to public consultation between 8 February and 10 April 2017 and BEIS carried out a simultaneous consultation with other government departments.
The consultations provided the opportunity for consultees to raise comments on our topsides proposals. In accordance with UK decommissioning procedures BEIS has had sight of our response to the comments raised by consultees in relation to topsides and have informed us that they are satisfied that they have been addressed appropriately and that no further consideration of proposals for the topsides is required as full removal is mandatory under OSPAR Decision 98/3.
As is to be expected when decommissioning involves large steel jackets or concrete gravity based structures, BEIS consideration of decommissioning proposals for these structures occurs over an extended timeframe to enable a robust review. Removal of topsides has no bearing on identified options for decommissioning of the Brent Alpha jacket or the Brent Gravity Based Structures, and for the management of materials in the base of the GBS legs.
In these particular circumstances, and given the timeframe involved, BEIS has recognised that the execution of topsides removals can allow decommissioning to be executed cost effectively, to the benefit of the taxpayer, and without prejudice or compromise to the feasible decommissioning options for the jacket or GBS.
To this end, BEIS has agreed that our topsides decommissioning proposals can be removed from the current Brent Decommissioning Programme and form a separate, topsides only Decommissioning Programme, which we will now submit to BEIS for approval.
There is no change to the OSPAR consultation process for the rest of the Brent Field Decommissioning Programme, and there is no change to any of the recommendations. We remain confident that our recommendations for the full field are safe, technically achievable, financially and socially responsible, and environmentally sound.
Why is Shell decommissioning the Brent Field?
After 40 years of operations, almost all the economically recoverable reserves of oil and gas have been produced, and in line with UK legislation, the Brent Field will now be decommissioned. The decision to decommission Brent is a natural step in the life cycle of the field.
What is the Brent Field Decommissioning Programmes document?
As the operator of the Brent Field, Shell must submit Decommissioning Programmes to The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), for review, followed by public consultation, as part of the extensive approval process.
In accordance with legislation we have submitted two Decommissioning Programmes (DP) in a single document. One DP covers the Brent installations and wells, and the other covers the Brent Field Pipelines. Our DP document will include the recommendations for closing down and making safe the four platforms, the wells and the subsea infrastructure.
The DP documents are supported by a suite of detailed Technical Documents (TDs) for each aspect of the programme; an Environmental Statement (ES); a Comparative Assessment (CA) process; and a Stakeholder Engagement Report.
Decommissioning in the UK Continental Shelf follows a mature and tightly defined regulatory process that is stipulated in the UK’s Petroleum Act 1998.