"Royal Dutch Shell Dismantling Brent Oil Field in North Sea"

"LONDON — Cleaning up an oil field in a forbidding environment like the North Sea may be almost as formidable a task as developing one, and in the coming years, those waters are likely to serve as a laboratory for what happens when the useful lives of oil fields expire.

Royal Dutch Shell is beginning to decommission and dismantle its installations in the Brent field, which has produced nearly 10 percent of all the oil and gas extracted from British waters and gave its name to the most important globally traded blend of crude.

Twenty years ago, Brent, which lies under more than 400 feet of water between the Shetland Islands, off Scotland, and Norway, was the scene of a landmark battle between the environmental movement and the oil industry over a relatively minor dismantling job. Greenpeace, the activist group, succeeded in deterring Royal Dutch Shell from disposing of a mammoth storage buoy called the Brent Spar in the depths of the ocean through stunts like landing a protester on the installation with a helicopter."

Stanley Reed reports in the Green Column for the New York Times February 18, 2015.

Source: NY Times, 02/18/2015