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Sustainable disposal of offshore oil platforms

At the initiative of European Commissioners Ritt Bjerregaard and Christos Papoutsis, respectively responsible for environment and energy policy, the European Union is expected to provide funding for a European-level stakeholder consultation project relating to the sustainable ...
At the initiative of European Commissioners Ritt Bjerregaard and Christos Papoutsis, respectively responsible for environment and energy policy, the European Union is expected to provide funding for a European-level stakeholder consultation project relating to the sustainable disposal of offshore oil platforms.

The project, developed by the London-based consultant "SustainAbility", specialized in the greening of industries and public bodies, will involve wide-spread consultation of all the major stakeholders concerned by the disposal of offshore oil platforms, including: the oil industry, the offshore engineering industry, the shipyards and the steel recycling industry. The main consultation exercise will be conducted in Spring 1998.

In the Ministerial Declaration of the Fourth North Sea Conference in 1995, the European Commission actively supported the view that offshore installations which are no longer in use should be brought to land for recycling and safe disposal. An increasing number of installations will be taken out of use in the years to come and a feasible, integrated disposal plan should be drawn up in order to protect seas and oceans against pollution and ensure legitimate uses of the sea for future generations. The magnitude of the task follows from the fact that in the North Sea alone, about 450 steel platforms are expected to be taken out of use over the next 20-30 years - i.e. on average 15-20 platforms a year are potential candidates for disposal on land.

Commenting on the project, Environment Commissioner, Ritt Bjerregaard stressed: "There is clear 'added value' in raising the question of how to dispose of off-shore installations on a European level. This initiative will seek a win-win solution which combines sustainable and environmentally sound disposal solutions for as many installations as possible, with economic efficiency and job creation."

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