By zooming in, oil spills and torching can be seen coming from several of these platforms. According to Shell regarding the Brent oil field located offshore in North Sea: "After 40 years of operations, almost all the economically recoverable reserves of oil and gas have been produced, and in line with UK legislation, the Brent Field will now be decommissioned. The decision to decommission Brent is a natural step in the life cycle of the field."
Facilities located around the Brent field - source: UK government
Shell described the decommissioning as the succession for the following steps:
- plugging and making safe the 154 wells across the Brent Field;
- removing to shore, and recycling the platform’s topsides;
- recovering oil and gas debris from the seabed across the Brent Field;
- removing the oil –known as ‘attic oil’ – trapped at the top of some of the subsea storage cells;
Scale of Brent Delta (299m) compared to the Shard (310m), Eiffel Tower (324m) & Empire State Building (443m) - source: The Guardian
offshoreenergytoday described the operation: "Allseas-owned dynamically positioned single-lift installation/decommissioning and pipelay vessel Pioneering Spirit has removed Shell’s 24,000 t Brent Delta platform topsides from the UK North Sea setting what the company claimed was the world record in lifting."
Pioneering Spirit, shown as it transports Brent Delta platform