Shell Brent Field Decommissioning Postponed

Published at 10:12AM - 05/07/16

Royal Dutch Shell has reportedly decided to delay the decommissioning of its Brent Delta platform by one year.

The Anglo-Dutch oil major had planned to decommission the nearly 40-year-old platform this year, but decided to postpone it as it took longer than anticipated to equip the vessel that will carry the topside of the platform to the harbour where it is to be dismantled.

The start of the work has been delayed to next year, but the exact time is difficult to foresee because Shell’s decommissioning plan still requires various approvals.

Shell Brent Field Decommissioning Postponed

Brent Delta is the first of four Brent platforms to be decommissioned and one of the first large-scale projects to dismantle a depleted oil field in the North Sea.

As well as this, the company announced it plans to leave the platform legs, storage cells and entrenched pipelines in the North Sea at the end of its Brent decommissioning campaign.

Shell Brent Delta Platform
Shell Brent Delta Platform

As reported to media sources, the removal of certain items of subsea infrastructure would be potentially dangerous for workers and had little impact on the environment.

The firm is preparing to submit its recommendations for Brent decommissioning to the Department of Energy Change (DECC) by the end of this year.

This operation should represent the heaviest lift ever undertaken in the North Sea and is expected to kick start a wave of decommissioning across the region.

Shell To Sell US$30bn

According to Oil and Gas UK, removing the 80 platforms and associated infrastructure from the North Sea that are scheduled for decommissioning is expected to cost nearly £17 billion.

Shell’s chief executive Ben van Beurden told the BBC that he is analysing the company’s North Sea assets following weaker oil prices and said that some older fields in the North Sea could be sold while others may be decommissioned.

Shell had said in May that it planned to raise US$30 billion from asset sales in three years after it spent US$54 billion to acquire BG Group, only two months before the global fall in oil prices.