Decommissioning Disputes
Produced in partnership with Ben Holland of Squire Patton Boggs
Decommissioning Disputes

The following Energy guidance note Produced in partnership with Ben Holland of Squire Patton Boggs provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Decommissioning Disputes
  • Scope
  • Party liability under Section 29 Notices
  • Challenging Section 29 Notices
  • Challenging non-withdrawal of Section 29 Notices
  • Challenging the decommissioning programme
  • Jurisdiction for challenges
  • Decommissioning security agreements
  • Contractor disputes
  • Decommissioning legacies

Scope

The UK’s decommissioning regime covers both offshore oil and gas installations and offshore submarine oil and gas pipelines. This regime implements the UK’s obligations under the 1992 Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic (OSPAR). It also implements obligations under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

For more information on UK government policy on decommissioning in the UK and the underlying international law, see Practice Note: Decommissioning—International Law and UK Government Policy.

The default position under international law is that disused installations or pipelines must be removed in their entirety. This has the effect that they must be brought back to land to be reused or disposed of in some way. Depending on the installation, OSPAR provides for the possibility of obtaining a derogation. If a derogation is granted, it is possible to keep parts of the structures in place on the seabed. See Practice Note: Decommissioning—International Law and UK Government Policy: Decision 98/3 OSPAR Commission for more information.

Party liability under Section 29 Notices

The Secretary of State (SoS) serves what are known as ‘Section 29 Notices’ notifying participants that they may have a decommissioning liability. Section 29 Notices are served, pursuant to section 29 of the Petroleum Act 1998 (PA 1998) (as amended by the Energy Act 2008,