Guidelines providing practical advice on the environmental issues surrounding the development of decommissioning programmes have been launched by Decom North Sea.

As the only membership organisation dedicated to the oil and gas late life and decommissioning sector, Decom North Sea identifies and has oversight of a number of projects which are intended to add value, improve efficiency and reduce costs both to its members and the wider decommissioning sector.

Produced in conjunction with environmental consultants, Ramboll Environ and supported by Amec Foster Wheeler, Frazer-Nash and Fugro, the Environmental Appraisal Guidelines have drawn upon the knowledge and expertise of representatives from consultancy, academia and the operator community. The project comprised a review of existing environmental legislation and guidance in relation to offshore decommissioning, as well as a comprehensive review of twelve recent environmental statements submitted alongside decommissioning programmes for North Sea (UK sector) assets.

Nathan Swankie, Principal at Ramboll Environ’s Edinburgh office and Project Manager of the guidelines working group said: “A key finding of the review is that the use of a more flexible and proportionate non-statutory environmental appraisal process would offer opportunities for efficiency, whilst still achieving the same outcomes in terms of protecting the environment.     

“The guidelines aim to provide 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.”

Decom North Sea interim Chief Executive, Tom Leeson added: “I am delighted that the Environmental Appraisal Guidelines have been launched during this week’s Offshore Decommissioning Conference in St Andrews. Decom North Sea is committed to our vision that North Sea decommissioning capability becomes globally recognised for its safe, effective and value-driven performance. 

“Having been developed in close liaison with BEIS (the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) and a major North Sea operator, I am confident that the guidelines are truly aligned to industry and stakeholder processes, and therefore invaluable to those navigating the environmental implications of decommissioning.”

The report will initially be released as a live document to allow for subsequent consultation workshops to be held in Q1, 2018. 

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