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1999 Annual Report

Decommissioning

Decommissioning in 1999 saw some physical activity instead of the political decision making which dominated 1998. Brent Spar was finally cleaned, cut into sections and redeployed as a new quay facility in Stavanger Harbour.

The Department of Trade and Industry published its Draft Guidelines for Decommissioning in June. These incorporated the decision taken by OSPAR in 1998 (Decision 98/3) and UKOOA responded with comments during the consultation phase. At year-end these guidelines had not been issued in final form. Removal of the Wellhead from the Maureen Platform. Image courtesy of Phillips Petroleum Company Limited.

However, several Operators are starting to formulate decommissioning programmes and those most advanced have joined to develop joint activities to further knowledge in the areas of public consultation and technology. This group, the Early Decommissioning Synergy Group, (TEDS) is supported by UKOOA and DTI. Early efforts to encourage developing technologies are showing signs of success.

Both the work of this group and the UKOOA Decommissioning Committee will be co-ordinated by a new body which is emerging from the Government led initiative, PILOT. A North Sea Decommissioning Group has resulted from this which has contractor representation as well as industry and DTI input. The terms of reference for this group are being formulated.

It is expected that interest in decommissioning will heighten as the issues affecting the successful execution of such programmes, especially for larger platforms, are worked and resolved. 1999 was a year when the pace quickened, it will continue to accelerate.

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