Shell has announced the opening of a public consultation on its recommendations for the decommissioning of the Brent oil and gas field in the UK North Sea.
The 30-day public consultation, which is due to start on 16 February, will discuss the Brent Delta platform’s decommissioning programme, including the removal of the 23,500t platform topside in one piece by a heavy-lift vessel.
Work is in progress to strengthen the topside in anticipation of the removal lift.
Prior to commencing its decommissioning programme operations, Shell needs to secure approval from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
If approved, Shell will take the topside to Able UK, where more than 97% of the material will be reused or recycled.
Shell Brent decommissioning project director Alistair Hope said: "The Brent field has been a prolific national asset for many years, creating and sustaining thousands of jobs and contributing billions of pounds to the UK Government.
"The engineering and planning skills, which led to the discovery and subsequent successful production of oil and gas over four decades, are essential during decommissioning, which is the natural next stage of the field’s life. We hope many people will play an active part in the consultation."
Shell said it will submit a second decommissioning programme for the remaining infrastructure in the Brent field when it feels that proposals are safe, technically achievable, environmentally sound and financially responsible.
The second programme, which will be subject to a separate consultation, includes Brent Delta’s legs, three other sets of topsides and legs, 140 wells and 28 pipelines.
Shell UK operates the Brent field and holds a 50% stake, while Esso Exploration and Production UK owns the remaining 50% interest.
The Brent field, which lies 115 miles East of Lerwick in the northern North Sea, was discovered in 1971 and started production in 1976.
The field has produced around four billion barrels of oil equivalent since 1976.