Shell has sent plans regarding the decommissioning of the Brent oil and gas field to BEIS.
The move marks the start of a 60-day public consultation on how best to shut down the North Sea site – at the end of this period ministers will decide whether to accept the suggestions or not.
The comprehensive programme outlines how the field can be closed in the most safe, technically achievable, environmentally sound and financially responsible way.
It recommends much of the remains should be removed including the upper sections of the four Brent platforms, debris lying on the seabed and oil storage cells in the area.
It suggests other equipment is best left behind, including three base structures, some platform footings and the drill cuttings piles. A range of potential options are outlined for the field’s 28 pipelines.
The field, located 115 miles north-east of the Shetland Islands, has produced the equivalent of around three billion barrels of oil since 1976, totalling almost 10% of UK production.
Duncan Manning, Shell’s Brent Decommissioning Asset Manager, 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.”
Spending on decommissioning offshore oil and gas projects is expected to see a 540% increase by 2040.