Following a thirty day public consultation in early 2015, the decommissioning programme submitted by Shell U.K. Limited (Shell) for the Brent Delta platform (one of four installations located in the field) recommending that the 24,200 tonne ’topside’ of the platform is removed in one piece by a heavy-lift dedicated vessel was approved by the UK Government in July 2015.
The approval is a milestone for the project which began in 2006 and has seen engagement with stakeholders from over 180 organisations, including NGOs, academic institutions and independent scientific experts.
Work continues offshore to strengthen the topside in anticipation of a 2017 lift. This will be carried out on completion of thorough preparations and weather assessments and will be one of the heaviest the North Sea has ever seen. This single lift technique will substantially reduce the risk, cost and environmental impact of the operation.
The topside will be taken to Able UK, a specialised decommissioning company in Teesside, where more than 97% of the material will be reused or recycled. Close engagement with Allseas Group S.A. and Able UK has been paramount throughout the planning and into this next phase of work as we prepare for the lift.
A second decommissioning programme for the remaining infrastructure in the Brent Field, including Brent Delta’s gravity based structure, three other platforms, 140 wells and 28 pipelines, will be submitted at a later date and will be subject to a separate consultation. It is the intent to deliver a programme that is safe, technically achievable, environmentally sound and financially responsible.
Brent Delta stopped production in 2011 and Brent Alpha and Bravo ceased in November 2014. Production from the field continues through Brent Charlie.