Decommissioning—planning for decommissioning
Produced in partnership with Isla Stewart of Matheson
Decommissioning—planning for decommissioning

The following Energy guidance note Produced in partnership with Isla Stewart of Matheson provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Decommissioning—planning for decommissioning
  • Timing of decommissioning programmes
  • Contents of a decommissioning programme
  • Preparing to submit the decommissioning programme
  • Consultation requirement
  • Approval of decommissioning programmes
  • Failure to submit a decommissioning programme
  • Revisions and amendments to decommissioning programmes
  • Withdrawal of approval of a decommissioning programme
  • Fees for decommissioning programmes
  • more

Offshore oil and gas decommissioning programmes are, by their very nature, complex documents. Not only do they require the co-operation of all the departments within the parties submitting the decommissioning programme, they also require a close working relationship with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Oil & Gas Authority (the OGA) and the buy-in of various stakeholders.

The rights and obligations relating to decommissioning programmes are contained in Part IV of the Petroleum Act 1998 (PA 1998). However, PA 1998 provides only the structure and mechanics and most of the practical information relating to decommissioning programmes is actually contained in the BEIS Guidance Notes on Decommissioning of Offshore Oil and Gas Installations and Pipelines under the Petroleum Act 1998 (the BEIS Guidance Notes). Notwithstanding the guidance, the interaction with BEIS, coupled with the consultation requirements, will mean that each decommissioning programme will be bespoke.

Timing of decommissioning programmes

Under PA 1998, an s 29 Notice will state either that a decommissioning programme is to be (i) submitted by a particular date; or (ii) before such a date as the Secretary of State (SoS) may direct in the future (section 29(2)).

Although BEIS advocates a case-by-case approach, a typical decommissioning programme traditionally follows five stages (although this varies slightly in complex cases and cases where a derogation from OSPAR’s