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UK government launches call for evidence on decommissioning

The Brent Delta platform being sent for decommissioning in 2017.
Shell received a £60m tax refund related to its Brent field in 2019. Pic: The Brent Delta topsides being sent for decommissioning in 2017.

A government consultation has been launched on how to strengthen the UK’s oil and gas decommissioning capabilities.

The call for evidence seeks the views of industry, trade bodies and other organisations to identify the UK’s “core strengths” and where weaknesses can be improved.

Chancellor Philip Hammond first announced that the consultation would take place during the Budget in October last year.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the responses would inform government policy and ensure the UK is poised to take advantage of global opportunities over the next decade, worth an estimated £80bn.

Energy minister Claire Perry said: “We want to understand how a domestic UK decommissioning industry could best serve the UK market, ensuring we have the skills and capability to meet domestic demand while encouraging the industry to export its decommissioning expertise abroad and position the UK as a global leader.”

It comes after a £38m National Decommissioning Centre was launched in Newburgh in Aberdeenshire at the start of the year.

Deirdre Michie, chief executive of industry body Oil and Gas UK, said: “We look forward to continuing our collaborative engagement with HMT and BEIS on the decommissioning call for evidence.

“The UK is leading the way as a decommissioning centre of excellence through both effective cost leadership and technical expertise. Working closely, we can together create an enduring benefit to both our world-class supply chain and the nation.”

Oil and gas partner at law firm Ashurst, Michael Burns, said: “It’s very encouraging for the oil and gas industry that the Government continues to engage with industry on decommissioning, so that decommissioning can become a part of the value chain that is capitalised on, rather than generally being regarded as a liability issue.”

More information on the consultation can be found here.

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