Oil and gas - guidance

Infrastructure and decommissioning - Oil and gas: decommissioning of offshore installations and pipelines

Decommissioning programmes, including dates, locations, installations decommissioned, method of decommissioning and close-out reports where available.

Overview

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) regulates decommissioning of offshore oil and gas installations and pipelines using legislation under the Petroleum Act 1998.

Under Section 29 of the Act the Secretary of State is empowered to serve notice on a wide range of persons.

In the first instance this would include parties to joint operating agreements for installations, and owners for pipelines.

The notice will either specify the date by which a decommissioning programme for each installation or pipeline is to be submitted or, as is more usual, provide for it to be submitted on or before such date as the Secretary of State may direct.

A decommissioning programme sets out the measures to decommission disused installations and/or pipelines, and will describe in detail the methods to undertake the work. In some cases this process can cover a wide range of activities such as radioactive material handling, removal of debris from the seabed and environmental monitoring of the area after removal of the installation. The department aims to be transparent in its consideration of decommissioning programmes. As a result, other government departments/agencies, non-governmental organisations, members of the public and other bodies are given the opportunity to comment on the proposals set out in a programme.

Table of draft decommissioning programmes under consideration

Field Name Field Operator Status Main points of the programme Details
Leadon Maersk Oil North Limited Draft programme under consideration Pipeline bundle to be left in-situ. Bundle towheads and midline structures to be removed. Spools, jumpers, risers and gas import line to be removed. FPSO to be removed and re-used at a different location. Leadon Draft Decommissioning Programme (PDF, 3.79MB, 61 pages)
Leadon Comparative Assessment (PDF, 5.2MB, 90 pages)
Murchison CNR International (U.K.) Limited Draft programme under consideration Topsides and steel jacket to top of footings to be removed to shore. Proposal to leave jacket footings in place. Murchison draft Decommissioning Programme (PDF, 5.53MB, 53 pages)
Comparative Assessment (PDF, 10MB, 107 pages)

Table of approved decommissioning programmes

Field Name Operator at approval Operator following licence / company change Main installations decommissioned Approved option Year of approval
Rubie & Renee (PDF, 2.47MB, 50 pages) Endeavour Energy UK Limited - Subsea Installations Removal to shore for recycling/disposal 2014
Pipelines Selective Recovery 2014
Miller (PDF, 6.57MB, 198 pages) BP Exploration (Alpha) Limited   Large Steel Platform Footings to remain in place, steel topsides and jacket to top of footings to be removed to shore 2013
Schiehallion & Loyal Phase One (PDF, 1.84MB, 60 pages) Britoil Limited - Schiehallion FPSO Removal for potential re-use 2013
Pipelines Recovery where possible. Production flowlines to be left in situ. 2013
Ivanhoe, Rob Roy Hess limited - FPSO Removal for re-use at different location 2013
Subsea installations Removal to shore for recycling/disposal 2013
Pipelines Selective recovery 2013
Camelot (PDF, 488KB, 39 pages)

Camelot Close out report (PDF, 2.27MB, 41 pages)
Energy Resource Technology (UK) Limited - Small Steel Platform Removal to shore for recycling / disposal 2012
Pipelines Pipelines decommissioned in situ 2012
Fife, Flora, Fergus, Angus Hess Limited - FPSO Removed for re-use at different location 2012
Subsea installations Removal to shore for recycling / disposal 2012
Pipelines Full removal of un-trenched pipelines; trenched pipelines decommissioned in situ 2012
Don Britoil Public Limited Company - Subsea installation Removal to shore for recycling / disposal 2011
Pipelines Decommissioned in situ with selective recovery 2011
Welland Perenco UK Limited Perenco UK Limited Small Steel Platform Removal for re-use outside of UK waters 2010
Pipelines Decommissioned in situ with selective recovery 2010
Tristan NW

Close out report
Silverstone Energy Limited Bridge Energy UK Limited Subsea installation Removal to shore for recycling 2010; close-out report received January 2011
Pipelines Production pipeline with piggy-backed umbilical - leave in situ; jumpers, spool pieces and associated pipeline equipment - remove to shore for re-use or recycling 2010; close-out report received January 2011
Shelley

Close out report
Premier Oil - Sevan Voyageur FPSO Tow away for future use at another location 2010; close-out report received February 2012
Manifold and Wellhead Remove to shore for re-use, recycling or disposal 2010; close-out report received February 2012
Pipelines Production pipeline - leave in situ; umbilical - remove in sections 2010; close-out report received February 2012
Kittiwake SAL Export System

Close out report
Venture North Sea Oil Limited - Kittiwake SAL Assembly SAL Assembly - removal to shore for re-use. Revision to approved decommissioning programme: Completion of the removal of the SAL Assembly extended to 31 July 2012 2009; close-out report received July 2012
Pipelines Pipeline - flexible flowline removed to shore for re-use 2009; close-out report received July 2012
MCP-01

Close out report
Total E& P UK Limited - Manifold & Compression Platform Permit granted for the disposal in-situ of the concrete substructure; topsides to be removed to shore for re-use, recycling or disposal 2008; close-out report received March 2013
Kittiwake Loading Buoy Venture North Sea Oil Limited - Exposed Location Single Buoy Mooring System (ELSBM) Removals to shore for recycling or disposal 2008
Linnhe (PDF, 2.25MB, 66 pages) Linnhe Close Out Report (PDF, 1000KB, 22 pages) Mobil North Sea LLC - Wellhead Protection Structure Removal to shore. Revision to approved decommissioning programme: completion of the removal of the Wellhead Protection Structure extended to 30 June 2010 2008; year of revised approval: 2010
Pipelines Decommissioned in situ; pipeline sections outside trenches removed to shore. Revision to approved decommissioning programme: completion of the abandonment of the pipelines extended to 30 June 2010 2008; year of revised approval: 2010
Indefatigable (Shell) Shell U.K. Limited - 6 x fixed steel platforms Removal to shore 2007
Pipelines 2 x hose bundles removal to shore; 5 x infield + export decommissioned in situ 2007
North West Hutton Amoco (U.K.) Exploration Company - now a subsidiary of BP plc - Large Steel Platform Footings to remain in place, steel topsides and jacket to top of footings to be removed to shore 2006
Pipelines Decommissioned in situ 2006
Ardmore British American Offshore Limited - Mobile Jack-Up Rig Re-use 2005
Ardmore Ugland Nordic Shipping AS - Single Anchor Loading Systems Re-use/removal to shore 2005
Pipelines Re-use 2005
Ardmore Acorn Oil & Gas Limited - Subsea equipment including guide frame Removal to shore 2005
Brent Shell - Brent Flare Removals to shore for recycling and disposal 2004
Beatrice Talisman Energy (UK) Limited - Fixed Steel Platforms Re-use 2004
Forbes and Gordon Infield Pipelines BHP Billiton - Infield Pipelines Decommission in situ - retrench any area of pipeline with less than 0.4m depth of cover 2003; close-out report received May 2005
Frigg TP1, QP & CDP1

Close out report
Total E&P Norge AS - Treatment Platform 1 (TP1), Quarters Platform (QP) and Concrete Drilling Platform 1 (CDP1) Concrete substructures to remain in place; concrete topsides to be removed to shore; steel installations to be removed to shore; infield pipelines to be removed to shore 2003
Durward and Dauntless Amerada Hess - Pipelines Decommissioned in situ 2002
Hutton Kerr-McGee - Tension Leg Platform Re-use 2002; close-out report received July 2004
Pipelines 1 x removal to shore; 1 x decommissioned in situ (with future monitoring programme) 2002; close-out report received July 2004
Camelot CB ExxonMobil - Fixed Steel Platform Re-use or removal to shore for recycling. Revision to approved decommissioning option: removal to shore for dismantling and recycling 2001. Year of revised approval: 2002
Blenheim and Bladon Talisman - FPSO Re-use 2000
Pipelines Removal to shore 2000
Durward and Dauntless Amerada Hess - FPSO Re-use 2000
Subsea Facilities Removal to shore 2000
Maureen and Moira Phillips - Large Steel Gravity Platform Removal to shore for re-use or recycling 2000
Concrete Loading Column Removal to shore for re-use or recycling 2000
Pipelines 2 x removal to shore;1 x decommissioned in situ 2000
Brent Spar Shell - Oil Storage and Loading Facility Re-use as part of quay extension. Revision to approved decommissioning option: Brent Spar Anchor Blocks - removal to shore for reuse, recycling or disposal 1998 Year of revised approval: 2004
Donan BP - FPSO Re-use 1998
Fulmar SALM Shell - Single Anchor Leg Mooring Buoy Removal to shore 1998
16” Pipeline Decommissioned in situ 1998
Emerald MSR - FPSO Re-use 1996
Pipeline Decommissioned in situ 1996
Frigg FP Elf Norge TotalFinaElf Norge Flare Column Removal to shore 1996
Leman BK Shell - Fixed Steel Platform Removal to shore 1996
Staffa Lasmo - Pipelines Removal to shore 1996
Viking AC, AD, AP & FD Conoco - 4 x Fixed Steel Platform Removal to shore 1996
Esmond CP & CW BHP - 2 x Fixed Steel Platform Removal to shore 1995
Gordon BW BHP - Fixed Steel Platform Removal to shore 1995
Angus Amerada Hess - Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Vessel Re-use 1993
Forbes AW Hamilton BHP Fixed Steel Platform Removal to shore 1993
Argyll, Duncan and Innes Hamilton BHP Floating Production, Facility (FPF) Removal to shore 1992
Catenary Anchor Leg Mooring (CALM) Buoy Removal to shore 1992
Pipelines Removal to shore 1992
Blair Sun Oil AGIP Pipelines 1 x Re-use; 1 x Decommissioned in situ 1992
Crawford Hamilton Oil BHP Floating Production, Facility (FPF) Removal to shore 1991
Catenary Anchor Leg Mooring (CALM) Buoy Removal to shore 1991
Subsea Facilities Removal to shore 1991
Piper Alpha Occidental Talisman Fixed Steel Platform Toppling 1988

Notification of disused pipelines

During the course of a field’s life, pipelines / parts of pipelines may be taken out of use, e.g. due to corrosion, problems with reservoir pressure, damage to the pipeline, etc. When this happens, under the Petroleum Act 1998 the Secretary of State has the option of immediately calling for a full decommissioning programme. This is not always considered an appropriate option however, and so it has been agreed consideration will be given to handling suitable pipelines, under an informal decommissioning regime, thereby deferring a formal programme until the end of the field’s life.

The Interim Pipeline Regime is intended to ensure out-of-use lines do not pose a risk to other users of the sea or the environment and that they are covered by an appropriate surveying and maintenance regime from the point when they are taken out of use until approval of the formal decommissioning programme, which is usually at the end of field life. It should be noted that any interim solution should not prejudice the final decommissioning options for that line, including complete removal.

The department expects operators to submit details of out-of-use pipelines / parts of a pipeline as soon as they are taken out of use. Please email Julie Benstead or complete the Disused pipeline notification form (MS Word Document, 82.5KB) and post to:

Offshore Decommissioning Unit Atholl House 86-88 Guild Street Aberdeen AB11 6AR

If you are an operator aware of any out-of-use pipelines that have not been referred to the Department, please also notify DECC through the same channels.

If a formal decommissioning programme is not immediately deemed suitable, details of the out-of-use pipeline(s) will be circulated to other government departments for comment. Following this, DECC will decide one of the following:

  • we are content with the proposals for monitoring and maintaining the out-of-use pipeline
  • we request additional information or further remedial action
  • we request a formal decommissioning programme

Following confirmation a pipeline has been accepted under the Interim Pipeline Regime, the Offshore Decommissioning Unit will continue to monitor the condition of the pipeline by asking the operator to confirm the status of the pipeline remains unchanged following future surveys.

Further information

A list of all installations on the UKCS and their current status is available from the publications section of the OSPAR website

At the first ministerial meeting of the Commission for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic (OSPAR) in 1998, a binding decision was agreed that set rules for the disposal of offshore installations at sea. Under the decision the dumping and leaving wholly or partly in place of offshore installations is prohibited. Decision 98/3 recognises it may be difficult to remove the ‘footings’ of large steel jackets weighing more than 10,000 and concrete installations. As a result there are derogations for these categories of installations if the internationally agreed assessment and consultation process shows leaving them in place is justifiable.

DECC has been trialling a streamlined decommissioning programme template for non derogation cases during 2013. This has now been extended to 2014. Operators will therefore have a choice whether to submit a decommissioning programme in the existing format (see Annex C of the Guidance Notes ‘Format and Content’) or adopt the streamlined decommissioning programme template. Operators should discuss individual cases with DECC. It is anticipated that final version templates for both non derogation and derogation cases will be available for all decommissioning programme submissions during 2014 leading to online versions on the DECC UK Oil Portal during 2015.

Further details on the decommissioning process, including the role and content of a decommissioning programme, are available in the Guidance notes for industry on the decommissioning of offshore installations and pipelines under the Petroleum Act 1998 (PDF, 755KB, 140 pages)

A Streamlined Decommissioning Programme Template (Non-Derogation Cases) (PDF, 1.27MB, 31 pages) is also available (updated on 27th January 2014).

A word version of this template can also be requested from DECC. Please email Julie.Benstead for further details.

Cost recovery

DECC will now charge a fee in respect of offshore (oil and gas) installations and pipelines decommissioning programmes under the Petroleum Act 1998. Guidance, including the indicative fee structure, is available in Guidance – charging a fee for offshore (oil and gas) installations and pipelines under the Petroleum Act 1998.

Recommendation 2006/05

Recommendation 2006/05 was adopted at the 2006 OSPAR Commission meeting, which introduces a management regime for offshore drill cuttings piles. Drill cuttings consist of rock fragments that have been contaminated in some instances with the drilling mud used to lubricate the drill bit in drilling operations. In some cases these cuttings have been discharged to the seabed, where they can accumulate around the base of installations and at remote subsea drilling locations to form what is known as drill cuttings piles.

The management regime for drill cutting piles is based on the results of the work carried out under the UKOOA Joint Industry Project on drill cuttings between 1998 and 2004. The OSPAR recommendation, which the department implements through the provisions of the Petroleum Act 1998, introduces a two-stage approach to identify those cuttings piles that may require further investigation and to assess the best means of dealing with them. Further details, including a copy of the OSPAR recommendation, can be found in the Guidance notes for industry on the decommissioning of offshore installations and pipelines under the Petroleum Act 1998 (PDF, 755KB, 140 pages) .

In recent years there has been a significant and increasing number of UKCS licence assignments from large companies to smaller ones. The introduction of innovative licensing schemes has also brought a number of new companies to the UKCS. Ministers have agreed such activity should be encouraged and as well as new developments, there should be free trade in mature offshore oil and gas assets to extend field life and maximise economic recovery. At the same time, the government has a duty to ensure the taxpayer is not exposed to an unacceptable risk of default in meeting the costs associated with decommissioning.

To enable these 2 goals to be achieved, a policy was developed to ensure adequate security for decommissioning costs is maintained on a field-by-field basis. The details of this policy, including the circumstances in which the government may require the owners of offshore installations and pipelines to provide security or enter into a Decommissioning Security Agreement (DSA), are set out in annexes F and G of the Guidance notes for industry on the decommissioning of offshore installations and pipelines under the Petroleum Act 1998 (PDF, 755KB, 140 pages) .

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