Could Rigs to Reefs Contribute to the UK’s Net Zero Target?

Decommissioning requirements

Decommissioning of an offshore installation (such as an oil and gas platform or pipeline and related cables) is required at the end of its operational life. This is a legal requirement under the Petroleum Act 1998 with some limited exceptions which require a permit. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published guidance on the regulatory requirements for decommissioning offshore oil and gas installations and pipelines (BEIS: Oil and gas: decommissioning of offshore installations and pipelines) (BEIS Guidance)1 For more information, see Practice note, Decommissioning of offshore installations: What decommissioning is and when it is needed 2 .

Several hundred oil and gas platforms are due to be decommissioned over the next three decadesin the North Sea. Fluctuating oil prices and the shift towards renewable energy have reduced the commercial viability of many North Sea rigs, presenting a decommissioning challenge of significant costs and potential environmental impact. The UK is set to become the largest decommissioning market globally, with an estimated $26 billion to be spent by 2030 on removing redundant oil and gas rigs.

News article on 18 October 2022 by Clare Hatcher & Sachin Shah from

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