By that time the spotlight will have started to turn on the fate of the 50 oil and gas platforms in North Sea waters more than 75m deep. Currently, international guidelines call for the topsides to be removed and the rest to be toppled leaving 55m of clear water. But there are clear signs of a change of opinion. And it is being led by the engineering community itself.
An EU report produced by John Brown E&C, has estimated that, of around 40 steel platforms, only seven would present undue difficulty in removal for disposal or recycling on land. Nor is cost a problem, it said, echoing the conclusions of The International Pipe Line and Offshore Contractors Association in 1994.
In short, engineers are saying to oil companies: steel platforms can be safely removed for onshore disposal. Give us the opportunity and we will can find a solution.
Given the furore over Brent Spar, it seems an attractive offer.