Royal Dutch Shell is to start consulting on its plans to remove the first of the iconic Brent platforms in the North Sea.
It hopes to carry out the first phase of the decommissioning process for the Brent Delta platform next year.
Shell recommends the 23,000 tonne “topside” of the platform is removed in a single lift, which is expected to reduce the risk, cost and environmental impact of the operation.
A consultation will begin later this month before it submits plans to DECC. If approved, around 97% of the topside will be reused or recycled by Teesside-based Able UK.
The field has produced around 10% of all UK North Sea oil and gas and generated more than £20 billion of tax revenue for the UK since production began in 1976.
Alistair Hope, Brent Decommissioning Project Director at Shell said: “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.”
Proposals for a second decommissioning project for the remaining infrastructure – including Brent Delta’s legs, three other sets of topsides and legs, 140 wells and 28 pipelines – will be submitted at a later date and consulted separately.