Find out about each stage of decommissioning process

The decision to decommission

The decision to decommission Brent has not been taken lightly. Having extended the field’s life for as long as possible, our next step before considering decommissioning was to explore potential ways to re-use the platforms. Options given consideration ranged from carbon capture and storage facilities, to wind farms and even offshore prisons and casinos.

However, eventually Shell and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) concluded that the age of the infrastructure, its distance from shore, the lack of demand for re-use, as well as the cost of modernising the facilities, made its re-use prohibitive. So decommissioning is the only viable option.

Shell has been working for years on the long-term planning necessary to stop production and subsequently decommission the Brent Field. Production from Brent Delta stopped in December 2011 and both Alpha and Bravo in November 2014. Production from Charlie is expected to stop within the next few years.

As operator of the Brent Field, Shell is required to submit a Decommissioning Programme to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The programme includes detailed recommendations for closing down and making safe the four platforms and subsea infrastructure of the Brent Field. These recommendations are the result of over 10 years of engineering studies, expert input, consultations and scientific assessments, including extensive discussions with more than 180 organisations including non-government organisations, academia, fishermen and local communities. This comprehensive programme of consultation reflects one of the major lessons learnt from the decommissioning of Brent Spar two decades ago.