Minimising risk

Our primary concern is to ensure the safety of people at all times. This is particularly important in the harsh conditions of the North Sea. We apply the same high standards of safety in our decommissioning projects as we do in exploration and production. We will also be assessing where decommissioning activity may impact the environment and the best way to mitigate this, including evaluating the impact on society and on other users of the sea such as fishermen.

Each option will consider the environmental and societal impact, safety risks, technical feasibility and cost. A technical risk assessment determines the likelihood and impact of failure.

Each of these assessments will inform our recommendation to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).


The Oslo/Paris (OSPAR) Convention, which provides the legislative framework for protecting and conserving the north-east Atlantic (including the North Sea), recognises that there are difficulties in removing major concrete installations such as GBSs and cells. In these instances, operators may make a case for an exemption, or ‘derogation’, from the general rule of complete removal. If our comparative assessments conclude that the safest and most responsible solution to these dilemmas is to leave some parts in place, then Shell will seek an exemption (or derogation) from removal of these parts.