Shell reveals decommissioning plans

9th March 2017

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Generation ,
  • Conventional ,
  • Fossil fuels


Katherine Moul

Proposals for retiring oil installations in the North Sea have been published for consultation by Shell. The oil company wants to leave the legs of four rigs along with their contents at the Brent field site.

Shell has four installations in the area, north-east of Shetland. At their peak, they delivered 500,000 barrels of oil a day but almost all of the resources that can be recovered economically have been extracted.

The proposals from the Anglo-Dutch multinational include securing 154 wells, removing the tops from all four platforms, recovering debris on the seabed and extracting the oil trapped in underwater storage cells. It also hopes to leave the concrete structures, including the legs supporting the platforms and their contents, in the seabed.

According to Shell, these were constructed nearly 50 years ago and were not designed to be removed. The safety risks of removing them outweighs the environmental benefits, it claimed.

But campaign group Greenpeace accused Shell of trying to wriggle out of decommissioning rules agreed under the OSPAR Convention on marine protection. These state that oil and gas installations should be brought ashore for decommissioning unless there are compelling reasons not to do so. The campaign group backs the recommendation to leave in place the concrete legs, but wants the removal of oil residues inside them.

Doug Parr, Greenpeace chief scientist, said decisions on decommissioning the rigs could set a precedent for other oil fields that are due to be retired. Shell estimates there are 470 oil and gas installations in the North Sea due to be decommissioned over the next 30 years. ‘At some point the cells will break down, so they should be rendered safe,’ Parr said.

Transform articles

Water companies fail to hit environmental targets

None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.

30th July 2021

Read more

The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.

30th July 2021

Read more

Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

30th July 2021

Read more

The oil and gas industry is set to burn through its allocated carbon budget 13 years early unless decisive action is taken immediately, new analysis has found.

22nd July 2021

Read more

The UK will no longer use unabated coal to generate electricity from October 2024, one year earlier than originally planned, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.

2nd July 2021

Read more

The UK government is not on track to deliver on its promise to improve the environment within a generation and is failing to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, a damning new report from MPs has revealed.

1st July 2021

Read more

Renewable energy will account for nearly 40% of the world's power mix by the end of this decade, overtaking coal within the next few years, according to research by GlobalData.

24th June 2021

Read more

The UK's solar energy capacity must treble over the next decade for the country to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, but is only set to double under a business-as-usual scenario.

18th June 2021

Read more

The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) has today been launched to support financial institutions and corporates in assessing and managing emerging risks and opportunities as the world looks to reverse biodiversity loss.

4th June 2021

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert