Heriot-Watt academic joins world's largest offshore oilfield decommissioning project

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The Brent Decommissioning Independent Review Group is a group of distinguished academics whose role it is to conduct peer reviews of the the various studies that Shell have undertaken in preparation for the decommissioning of the Brent field.

We’re very pleased to welcome the new members. The IRG provides peer review on the technical quality of the projects and studies commissioned by the Brent Decommissioning team and this is an evolving process. At different stages of the project our requirements may change with respect to the different specialist areas we cover, depending on the options we look at.

James Blackburn, HSE Manager, Shell.

The Brent field lies more than 100 miles offshore to the north-east of Shetland. Formerly one of Shell's most productive oil and gas fields it has produced over 2 billion barrels of oil and 5.7 trillion cubic feet of gas, but now after more than 35 years of service it is reaching the end of its useful life.

Decommissioning involves examining the options for the physical removal and disposal of all structures, formulating a plan of action approved by government and then implementing. It is a hugely complex multi-phase task which will take years to complete at a cost of several billion pounds.

The decommissioning studies undertaken by Shell include long-term modelling of cell contents material and how that may affect the environment over the next 100 years.

Professor David Davies (Institute of Petroleum Engineering, Heriot-Watt University) along with Professors Quentin Fisher (University of Leeds) and Ian Main (University of Edinburgh) will provide expertise in subsurface (below seadbed) studies of reinjection of cell contents. The studies will include an examination of the integrity of existing wells and the potential to drill new wells from or adjacent to the platforms.This is just one option being explored on how to manage the cell sediment issue.