Decommissioning – Deposits of Materials

Key Legislation:

For more detail on the Legislation relevant to this page, please use the following links:

Guidance Notes:
  • BEIS Note on Deposit of Stabilisation and Protection Materials (new replacement guidance pending).

This Guidance Note offers an update to the oil and gas sector on the UK marine planning process with a focus on environmental impact assessments (EIAs) associated with decommissioning activities within a marine plan area.

Consent Needed: A FEPA Licence is no longer required for deposit of stabilisation or protection materials related to decommissioning operations. A Marine Licence will be required for all decommissioning activities which include any deposits, removal of infrastructure or seabed disturbance during operations.
How to Apply: Marine Licences may be applied for:

  • individual activities as a standalone application; or
  • a group of activities as a Subsidiary Application Template (SAT) under a Master Application Template (MAT)
Who to Apply to: Submissions should be made via the UK Oil Portal
When to Apply: At least 28 days prior to the start date of the proposed operations.
Performance Standards:

Not known at present.

Deposited Materials: There is no requirement to monitor or sample the deposited material under FEPA.
What to Report: Not known at present.
Who to Report to: Not known at present.
When to Report: Not known at present.
What to do if in Breach of Consent/Authorisation: Consent stipulates that if the Secretary of State is of the opinion that the deposited materials are causing, or are likely to cause, obstruction or hazard, the SoS may require the removal of those materials.
Licence duration: Licences will be valid for a maximum period of one year, but operators will be able to apply to renew licences that cover a range of activities.
MCAA Guidance: BEIS guidance has been drafted and is awaiting issue.

Alignment for Decom North Sea and Oil and Gas UK

UK offshore oil and gas industry trade bodies Oil & Gas UK and Decom North Sea are to align on key areas to deliver a more efficient and effective decommissioning agenda for the North Sea. More information available here.
Decommissioning Delivery Programme This programme focuses on three key priorities:

  • Cost certainty and reduction
  • Decommissioning delivery capability
  • Decommissioning scope, guidance and stakeholder engagement.

Growing Market for Decommissioning in Norway

Growing market for Decommissioning in Norway evident from Oil and Gas UK forecast (link here)
OGA Decommissioning Strategy The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has published its Decommissioning Strategy, the first of a series of strategies that it plans to issue.Further details are available here.

Sampling and analysis changes for marine licence applications:

From 6 April 2014 all sampling and sediment analysis to support a marine licence application needs to be undertaken before the application is submitted to the Marine Management Organisation. The analysis also needs to be included as part of the application
Stakeholder Engagement During Decommissioning Activities In April 2013 Oil & Gas UK produced updated guidelines for stakeholder engagement during decommissioning activities. The guidelines were first published in 2006 but have been updated to reflect experience in recent decommissioning projects.