Decommission planned for North Sea Brent oil field

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The top part of the Brent Delta platform will be taken away for scrap

Plans to decommission the Brent field in the North Sea are expected to be lodged with the government later.

Shell has already started decommissioning one platform but this new plan is for the whole field.

Brent is iconic because it lends its name to the benchmark of the North Sea, Brent Crude.

A £5m fund to help companies working in the oil and gas supply chain benefit from North Sea decommissioning will also be announced by Nicola Sturgeon.

The first minister will make the announcement during a visit to Aberdeen.

The Decommissioning Challenge Fund (DCF) will help pay for infrastructure upgrades at ports and harbours. It is also aimed at helping firms build business cases for private investment.

In the next few months, the top portion of the Brent Delta platform is expected to be removed and taken away for scrap.

Plans for the rest of the infrastructure in the Brent field will be submitted to the UK government.

‘Important milestone’

They are expected to include leaving the legs of some of the platforms in place rather than removing them – which Shell has described as the safest option.

That has caused concern among some environmental groups.

Brent decommissioning asset manager Duncan Manning said: “After an extensive and in-depth study period, the submission of Shell’s Brent decommissioning programme marks another important milestone in the history of the Brent oil and gas field.

“Shell has undertaken thorough analysis, extensive scientific research and detailed consultation with over 180 stakeholder organisations over the past 10 years.

“Working within the tightly defined regulatory process, we believe that our recommendations are safe, technically achievable, environmentally sound and financially responsible.

“Shell encourages all those with an interest in the decommissioning of the Brent field to review, reflect on and respond to this consultation document.”

Lang Banks, of WWF Scotland, told BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme he would like to see any materials containing oil removed from the seabed.

“We should be aiming to set the highest possible benchmark for the rest of the industry to follow,” he said.

“If we do it right, if we remove as much as we can, the great thing is we have an opportunity for this country to develop a multi-billion pound industry in decommissioning, not just in the North Sea but right around the world.”

A 60-day consultation will now be launched before ministers decide whether to accept Shell’s plans.

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