Decommissioning Insight 2017
3.1 The Regulatory Environment The OSPAR Commission is an international convention that aims to protect the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic. As contracting parties to the OSPAR Convention, the UK, Norway, Denmark and The Netherlands are committed to OSPAR Decision 98/3, which requires all offshore structures to be removed during decommissioning. Pipelines are not covered by OSPAR and are regulated under national legislation. National regulators can grant an exemption (derogation) fromOSPAR Decision 98/3 for concrete structures and the footings of steel structures that weigh more than 10,000 tonnes and were installed before 1999; the infrastructure owner must demonstrate appropriate safety, environmental and technical considerations. Contracting parties are committed to carrying out a review every five years to determine if there is a case for reducing the scope of this derogation. The three reviews carried out since 1999 have concluded that a change in the criteria is not required. The next review is due in March 2018. In the UK, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is the competent authority for decommissioning and is responsible for approving decommissioning programmes under the Petroleum Act 1998. The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) ensures platforms do not prematurely cease production in line with the principles of MER UK (maximising economic recovery from the UKCS), and that decommissioning is carried out in a cost-effective manner. The OGA therefore grants approvals to cease production. In Norway, the Norwegian Petroleum Act regulates the shutdown and disposal of offshore facilities, while the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy makes the final decision on decommissioning in consultation with the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. In Denmark, platform decommissioning is regulated by the Subsoil Act and Offshore Safety Act, and approval and permits for decommissioning are awarded by the Danish Working Environment Authority. In the Netherlands, this activity is regulated under the Dutch Mining Act. In November 2016, The Netherlands Masterplan for Decommissioning and Re-use 2 set out plans to: establish a national platform to drive the decommissioning and re-use agenda; develop a national decommissioning database; promote effective and efficient regulation; and share learnings. The National Platform for Re-use and Decommissioning – Nexstep – was launched in October 2017 following a joint industry project between Energie Beheer Nederland (EBN) and The Netherlands Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Association (NOGEPA) 3 .
2 See the Netherlands Masterplan for Decommissioning and Re-use at http://bit.ly/EBNmasterplan 3 See Nexstep National Platform for Re-use and Decommissioning at www.nexstep.nl
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