On 7 January 2019, the UK government initiated a formal consultation procedure in accordance with OSPAR Decision 98/3. It was announced that Shell’s application was supported and that derogation permits are intended to be issued allowing the footings of the three concrete gravity base structures Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie and Brent Delta and the steel jacket platform Brent Alpha to remain in place.
In the case of three of the platforms, this would mean that, in addition to the supporting structures that extend above the water’s surface, a total of 62 approximately 65-metre tall large-volume storage cells and drilling legs would also be left behind, filled with around 640,000 cubic metres of oil-contaminated water and 40,000 cubic metres of oil-contaminated sediment, containing more than 11,000 tonnes of crude oil (according to estimates from Shell). In April 2019, Germany submitted a formal objection to the UK government regarding the planned approval of Shell’s proposed decommissioning programme.
The BMU has commissioned an independent expert review of the decommissioning plan and the proposed derogation permit.