Introducing comprehensive UK guidance on the decommissioning of North Sea installations

24 November 2017

To assist clients in navigating the UK environmental regulatory process for offshore decommissioning, Nathan Swankie, Principal at Ramboll’s Edinburgh office, has led the development of a new guide, published by Decom North Sea (DNS).


Nathan Swankie

T: +44 1312 972 650

As the production of oil and gas declines in the UK Continental Shelf, suppliers, contractors and large oil and gas operators are being forced to face the reality of offshore decommissioning. Not only will oil and gas operators be expected to overcome a series of regulatory hurdles, but they will also have to meet complex environmental and engineering challenges.

The guide entitled Environmental Appraisal Guidelines draws upon the knowledge and expertise of representatives from consultancy, academia, the operator community and crucially the regulator (the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy), to steer oil and gas companies in the right direction.

The guide was developed following a review of existing environmental legislation and guidance in relation to offshore decommissioning, as well as a comprehensive assessment of twelve recent environmental statements submitted alongside decommissioning programmes for North Sea (UK sector) assets.

Nathan said: “A key finding of the review was that the use of a more flexible and proportionate non-statutory environmental appraisal process offers opportunities for efficiency, whilst still achieving the same outcomes in terms of protection of the environment.

“The guide provides practical advice and a framework for robust environmental appraisal that is proportionate to the nature of the decommissioning activities proposed and the level of detail available at the decommissioning programme submission stage.”

Nathan will give a presentation about the guide at the Offshore Decommissioning Conference in St Andrews on 29th November as part of the Environmental and Waste Management in Decommissioning session. This joint conference between DNS and Oil & Gas UK will include numerous keynote sessions all focused on the latest decommissioning updates, trends and case studies. The conference is expected to be a sell-out with over 500 delegates set to attend.

He will also introduce the guide at the Oil & Gas UK Environmental Seminar in Aberdeen on 12th December 2017. From water management in Norway to trends in the distribution and foraging of harbour porpoises, this multidisciplinary seminar attracts academics from across the globe to discuss marine management during the process of decommissioning.

Ramboll will run a series of workshops with DNS for oil and gas operators in the first quarter of next year to highlight some of the learning points discussed in the new guide.

Contact Nathan for more information about the Environmental Appraisal Guidelines or visit the Oil & Gas UK or DNS websites to find out more about these events.

The guide is now available to purchase here. Access is free for DNS members.

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