Streamlining the regulatory journey for offshore oil and gas decommissioning

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the DecomRegHub?

A. DecomRegHub is a partnership of regulators involved in decommissioning offshore oil and gas infrastructure: Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED); Oil and Gas Authority (OGA); Health and Safety Executive (HSE); Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Environment Agency (EA)


Q. What is the background to DecomRegHub?

The DecomRegHub idea evolved from the frustrations experienced by the offshore industry, supply chain and regulators trying to navigate the shift from operational to decommissioning phase. A funding bid was submitted to  the Regulators Pioneer Fund, administered by InnovateUK (IUK), on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to develop a regulatory Hub for decommissioning.  The DecomRegHub design phase ran from November 2018 to March 2020, with input from the partner regulators HSE, NSTA, OPRED, SEPA and EA.


Q. What is the purpose of the DecomRegHub?

A. It supports collaboration between regulators to help streamline the regulatory journey through decommissioning, from late life operations to end of waste and post-decommissioning monitoring. 


Q. What are the benefits of the DecomRegHub?

A. The DecomRegHub supports effective and efficient regulation in the UK by bringing together guidance on compliance in a single Digital Hub, helping industry carry out decommissioning safely, cleanly and cost effectively.


Q. What help and advice can I get from the DecomRegHub?

A. DecomRegHub provides a single port of call for industry, through the Digital Hub, to essential resources about decommissioning regulation, case studies and the latest regulatory news.  The Regulatory Forum can help answer questions about regulatory challenges and problems, where the issues involve more than one of the partner regulators.  If an enquiry is only relevant to a single regulator, we will highlight this and signpost to where you can get more information.  For examples of the types of enquiries the Forum can help with, please click here [IN PROGRESS]


Q. What do we mean by offshore oil and gas decommissioning?

A. With multiple regulators applying several unrelated pieces of legislation at different stages of the process, it is not always clear where 'decommissioning' starts and ends.  For the purposes of the project, the DecomRegHub partners agreed the following definition of decommissioning:

"Offshore oil and gas decommissioning is the collective activities involved in withdrawing oil and gas infrastructure from operation at the end of its economic life, including the safe and legal processing of materials returned to shore, as far up the waste hierarchy as possible."

Decommissioning starts with the planning and preparation for decommissioning and finishes at 'end of waste' - when all materials and waste from the decommissioning project have been reused, repurposed, recycled or disposed. 


Q. Why do we decommission?

A. International treaties and conventions place obligations on signatory states relating to the management of redundant oil and gas infrastructure.  When taken together, the purpose of these obligations is to protect the environment and human health, and ensure that other marine activities such as fishing and shipping are not hindered by the abandonment or dumping of platforms.  More information on some of the key international agreements affecting the UKCS can be found here  


Q. What UK regulations apply to decommissioning?  

A. Information on the regulations which apply to onshore and offshore activities, and which regulator is the competent authority for each, can be found on our Decom Regulation page.


Q. When should I contact the regulators about my decommissioning plans?

A. The best outcomes are reached when regulators are engaged early in decommissioning planning.  We recommend including regulators in early-phase stakeholder engagement and production of decommissioning plans, instead of waiting until statutory notification is required.  It is important to note regulators can only advise on compliance with their own legislation, and engagement should include all regulators who may be required to grant approvals or permits at any stage of the project.  This reduces the likelihood of 'showstoppers' later in the project.