Forum wants old rigs policy rethink

The UK Government’s policy to remove obsolete North Sea platforms for decommissioning on shore is not the best environmental solution to the problem.

The Government’s policy to remove obsolete North Sea platforms for decommissioning on shore is not the best environmental solution to the problem, leading maritime industry professionals claim.

The UK Maritime Forum of Professional Institutes and Societies, which includes the Royal Institution of Naval Architects and the Institute of Marine Engineers, says the strategy ‘appears to be based on no scientific or technical evaluation of whether this was the best practicable environmental option for all Ñ or indeed any Ñ of the rigs to be decommissioned’.

The forum has called for the policy to be replaced by one that would assess each decommissioning case on its merits.

However, the present strategy is based on an agreement signed by 16 governments under the Ospar Convention on sea dumping in 1998, and it will be difficult for the UK government to radically depart from it now.

A Department of Trade and Industry spokesman said the UK would honour its commitments to the convention, but added there is a provision in the agreement to apply for a derogation in cases where total removal would have adverse consequences for safety or the environment..