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Belgium opposes Shell abandoning drilling platform foundations in the sea

Belgium, plus four other countries and the European Commission are opposed to the Shell Oil company leaving the foundations of three old drilling platforms in the North Sea, De Morgen indicated on Thursday.

Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie and Brent Delta platforms are located in the British part of the North Sea. Shell is dismantling these platforms, but the company wants to leave the foundations that are above the sea level by 24 meters.

Belgium, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have filed a complaint to the company. “We require certification that it will have no consequences on the environment. The company cannot currently guarantee this,” Minister in charge of the North Sea Philippe De Backer (Open VLD, Flemish liberal democrats) said. The European Commission has also expressed its concerns.

The foundations of three platforms still contain 11,000 tons of chemicals and oil that with time will end up in the sea. According to Shell, however, it will take 750 years before the concrete structures are completely crumbled. The environmental impact would be minimal, according to the company. It further states that the demolition of the three platforms would be particularly risky.

The British government will have to decide on the issue. Britain plans to allow Shell to make an exception to the OSPAR Convention (for Protection of Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic), which states that drilling platforms must always be completely dismantled after use.

In theory, the British government can ignore the objections from Belgium, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. In practice, consultation under the OSPAR convention is scheduled for mid-October.

“A representative of our firm will also be present,” De Backer said.

The Brussels Times

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