May 16 (UPI) -- Royal Dutch Shell has started the process to take down legacy operations at the Bravo production platform in the North Sea, which supports the Brent oil field, Wood Group said.
The Scottish oilfield services company said it secured a contract from Royal Dutch Shell to start tearing down the platform. "Effectively immediately," the company said it was preparing the platform for removal and carrying out modifications so it can "operate on minimum manning mode."
The Brent field, the origin of the global benchmark for crude oil prices, is located about 115 miles north of the Shetland Islands. Since production began in 1976, the complex has represented about 10 percent of total British production. Field maturation, however, has forced the idling of the production platforms and Shell is in the midst of a multimillion dollar plan to take them down.
Operations at the Delta platform ended in 2011 and the Alpha and Bravo platforms were shut down in 2014. The company said plans for decommissioning include operations to deal with the more than two dozen pipelines connected to the Brent field.
Preparations for decommissioning began in 2006. Production from the Brent field will continue for several years using the remaining Charlie platform.
During the last decade, S&P Global Platts changed up the basket of what constitutes the benchmark by adding Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk grades from the North Sea as production from the Brent field itself started to decline. With some of those other fields are starting to show their age, the agency in February said it would start adding oil from the Troll field in Norway.
Last year, the Troll field in the Norwegian waters of the North Sea reached its 1 billionth barrel of oil after 20 years in production.