The Brent decommissioning programme recommends that the upper steel jacket on the Brent Alpha platform is removed, along with the topsides of the four Brent platforms, debris lying on the seabed, and the attic oil contained within the concrete storage cells of the gravity base structures. The programme will also recommend that the three gravity base structures, Brent Alpha footings, the sediment contained within the concrete storage cells of the gravity base structures (Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie and Brent Delta), and the drill cuttings piles remain in place. This recommendation will require consultation with and support of the OSPAR Commission, the body established under the OSPAR Convention to protect the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic. A range of options are outlined in the decommissioning plan to deal with the 28 pipelines connected to the Brent field.

Following conclusion of the public consultation period, the recommendations will be considered by BEIS, alongside consultation responses. Providing BEIS accepts the recommendations, it will then seek the support for the necessary derogations from the OSPAR Commission on Shell’s behalf.

“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,” said Duncan Manning, Brent Decommissioning Asset Manager.

“Shell has undertaken thorough analysis, extensive scientific research and detailed consultation with over 180 stakeholder organisations over the past 10 years. Working within the tightly defined regulatory process, we believe that our recommendations are safe, technically achievable, environmentally sound and financially responsible.  Shell encourages all those with an interest in the decommissioning of the Brent field to review, reflect on and respond to this consultation document.” 

Work to prepare for Brent decommissioning started in 2006. More than 300 expert studies have been completed and the results analysed and verified by a group of independent scientists. Shell has also engaged with around 400 stakeholders, including NGOs, academics and key interest groups, including but not limited to the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation.

Production from Brent Delta ceased in 2011 and from Brent Alpha and Brent Bravo in November 2014. Production from the field will continue, via Brent Charlie, for several years to come.


Shell International Media Relations: +44 207 934 5550.


Notes to editors

Decommissioning the Brent field – photos and footage

Brent decommissioning website

Submit questions

BEIS website with consultation document



About the Brent field

  • The joint owners of the field are Shell U.K. Limited (50% and operator) and Esso Exploration and Production UK Limited (50%). 
  • The Brent field, which is 115 miles (186km) north-east of the Shetland Islands in the northern North Sea, was discovered in 1971 and started to produce in 1976. It was one of several large fields to come on stream amidst two global oil crises, in 1973 and 1979. It helped to meet a shortage of energy supply and turn the UK into a net exporter of oil. 
  • Since 1976, Brent has produced around three billion barrels of oil equivalent – almost 10% of UK production.
  • At its peak in 1982, it was producing more than half a million barrels a day – enough to meet the energy needs of around half of all UK homes for that year.
  • The one billionth barrel of oil was produced from the Brent Field in March 1987. 
  • In the 1990s, the life of the field was extended through redevelopment and depressurisation that meant it could produce gas rather than oil. This cost £1.2 billion and provided jobs for more than 3,000 people.
  • The Brent field has been groundbreaking in many ways. At one time it had the UK’s longest subsea pipeline and in the 1990s was the world’s largest oil field to be depressurised.
  • By 2001, the Brent field was yielding record levels of gas production; 25.5 million cubic metres per day.
  • The redevelopments, planning and commitment of everyone involved led to Brent’s pre-eminence in the UK sector of the North Sea. It has even given its name to the oil benchmark that is used to price two-thirds of the world’s internationally traded crude oil.

Brent’s contribution to the UK economy

  • In its lifetime, Brent has generated over £20 billion in tax revenues in today’s money for the UK Government. 
  • The Brent field has supported tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs, and the UK’s oil and gas supply chain generally. This has helped many UK companies enter the global oil and gas marketplace. At the time of its early development, Brent was one of the deepest offshore oil fields in the world. The skills gained by UK companies in its supply chain have now been exported globally.

About Brent decommissioning

  • Brent is one of the largest fields in the North Sea and one of the most complex to be decommissioned – with four platforms, 154 wells and 28 pipelines.
  • Shell has consulted extensively with many stakeholders since 2007 to achieve the most appropriate solution. More than 300 studies have been carried out and Shell received input from around 180 organisations across Europe.
  • There are around1,000 skilled people offshore, plus further people onshore, working on the decommissioning of the Brent field, including many engineers.
  • Shell will share the insights and experience gained through this project to help the wider industry.
  • A previous consultation process took place in 2015, which covered the removal of the 24,200 tonne topside of the Brent Delta platform.
  • Work on this is already underway with the Brent Delta topside lift expected to take place in the summer of 2017.
  • The Brent Delta topside will be removed in a single lift operation by the maritime company Allseas, which has developed the world’s largest vessel specifically for work of this kind.
  • The topside will be taken to Able UK, a specialised decommissioning company in Teeside, where more than 97% of the material will be reused or recycled.    

Cautionary note

The companies in which Royal Dutch Shell plc directly and indirectly owns investments are separate legal entities. In this release “Shell”, “Shell group” and “Royal Dutch Shell” are sometimes used for convenience where references are made to Royal Dutch Shell plc and its subsidiaries in general. Likewise, the words “we”, “us” and “our” are also used to refer to subsidiaries in general or to those who work for them. These expressions are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular company or companies. ‘‘Subsidiaries’’, “Shell subsidiaries” and “Shell companies” as used in this release refer to companies over which Royal Dutch Shell plc  either directly or indirectly has control. Entities and unincorporated arrangements over which Shell has joint control are generally referred to as “joint ventures” and “joint operations” respectively.  Entities over which Shell has significant influence but neither control nor joint control are referred to as “associates”. The term “Shell interest” is used for convenience to indicate the direct and/or indirect ownership interest held by Shell in a venture, partnership or company, after exclusion of all third-party interest.

This release contains forward-looking statements concerning the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of Royal Dutch Shell. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements of future expectations that are based on management’s current expectations and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements concerning the potential exposure of Royal Dutch Shell to market risks and statements expressing management’s expectations, beliefs, estimates, forecasts, projections and assumptions. These forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as ‘‘anticipate’’, ‘‘believe’’, ‘‘could’’, ‘‘estimate’’, ‘‘expect’’, ‘‘goals’’, ‘‘intend’’, ‘‘may’’, ‘‘objectives’’, ‘‘outlook’’, ‘‘plan’’, ‘‘probably’’, ‘‘project’’, ‘‘risks’’, “schedule”, ‘‘seek’’, ‘‘should’’, ‘‘target’’, ‘‘will’’ and similar terms and phrases. There are a number of factors that could affect the future operations of Royal Dutch Shell and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements included in this release, including (without limitation): (a) price fluctuations in crude oil and natural gas; (b) changes in demand for Shell’s products; (c) currency fluctuations; (d) drilling and production results; (e) reserves estimates; (f) loss of market share and industry competition; (g) environmental and physical risks; (h) risks associated with the identification of suitable potential acquisition properties and targets, and successful negotiation and completion of such transactions; (i) the risk of doing business in developing countries and countries subject to international sanctions; (j) legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments including regulatory measures addressing climate change; (k) economic and financial market conditions in various countries and regions; (l) political risks, including the risks of expropriation and renegotiation of the terms of contracts with governmental entities, delays or advancements in the approval of projects and delays in the reimbursement for shared costs; and (m) changes in trading conditions. All forward-looking statements contained in this release are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Additional risk factors that may affect future results are contained in Royal Dutch Shell’s 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2015 (available at and ). These risk factors also expressly qualify all forward looking statements contained in this release and should be considered by the reader.  Each forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date of this release, February 8, 2017. Neither Royal Dutch Shell plc nor any of its subsidiaries undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other information. In light of these risks, results could differ materially from those stated, implied or inferred from the forward-looking statements contained in this release.

We may have used certain terms, such as resources, in this release that United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) strictly prohibits us from including in our filings with the SEC.  U.S. Investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in our Form 20-F, File No 1-32575, available on the SEC website

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