HL Deb 06 March 1979 vol 399 c166WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the law concerning the duties and responsibilities of a licensee on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf when he abandons platforms and subsea equipment; and what steps they are taking to ensure that licensees shall not be liable to avoid their duties and responsibilities, whether these may be the total removal of platforms and other equipment or making them safe in situ in perpetuity.


As a condition of the consent given under Part II of the Coast Protection Act, as applied by the Continental Shelf Act 1964, to the erection of an offshore installation, it is required that when the offshore operating company abandons platforms and subsea equipment, the company clears the site to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State for Trade so that no danger or obstruction to navigation is caused or is likely to result. In addition, all consents for the abandonment of wells, given under the terms of the model clauses incorporated in seaward production licences granted pursuant to the Petroleum (Production) Act 1934, as applied by the Continental Shelf Act 1964, require the clearing of the area immediately around them, including removal of the wellhead and casing to a depth of at least 10 feet below the seabed.

If removal of a platform and clearance of the site were not carried out to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State for Trade, there would be an infringement of the 1949 Act. In the event of an abandoned installation remaining on site, the offshore operating company would be required to continue to provide such marks, lights and fog signals as might be directed, in perpetuity, for the safety of navigations.