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Oil and gas decommissioning: onshore facilities consents and waste disposal licences guide
This guidance aims to assist port operators, waste management operators and the oil and gas industry understand the waste regulations and the consenting requirements in Scotland associated with the decommissioning of offshore oil and gas installations, wells, pipelines and other subsea infrastructure on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). It summarises the typical waste streams that result from decommissioning activity, the consents and licences required for onshore decommissioning locations, and the physical site requirements associated with these consents. It presents two case studies: Energy Park Fife, including details of the consents and physical works required onshore to enable it to compliantly receive decommissioned oil and gas equipment; and Greenhead base in Lerwick Harbour on Mainland Shetland, which was one of the first ports in the UK to handle major offshore industry decommissioning projects.
The guidance draws on information from a variety of sources, including the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Fife Council, Transport Scotland, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Decommissioning is centred around demolition/dismantling and recycling of materials. Onshore recycling and disposal constitutes an important element of the decommissioning lifecycle. Parts of the platform that will require decommissioning include the deck and jacket, cabling, electrics, pipelines, concrete subsea mattresses, accommodation blocks and moorings/anchor chains. Materials and components to be recycled or otherwise disposed of include steel, copper and other metals, concretes, paints, insulators, electrical components, sludges and sediments, oils, marine growth, food waste, domestic waste, asbestos, soft furnishings and plastics. Guidance is provided on the requirement to classify waste streams under the Duty of Care for waste (Duty of Care Code of Practice, Scottish Government, October, 2012). Waste consents and licences that may be applicable include: planning consents; The Merchant Shipping (Port Waste Reception Facilities) Regulations 2016; a waste carrier or broker licence; a waste management licence; a waste management licence exemption; a pollution prevention and control permit; Radioactive Substances Act permit; controlled activities regulation licence; landfill permit; harbour empowerment order/harbour order; marine licences; and legislation relating to the control of waste movements between countries. Not all ports will be suited to offering full scale large piece decommissioning. Elements such as depth of quay, scale of available laydown areas or infrastructure may constrain the nature of operations each port facility can deliver. A number of ports in Scotland already successfully operate in decommissioning under the following types: specialist decommissioning facility; core decommissioning facility; and secondary decommissioning facility.
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