Report: Marathon speeds up Brae decom plans after recent gas leak?

  • Project & Tenders

Marathon Oil has reportedly submitted plans to relevant authorities for decommissioning of its Brae field in the UK sector of the North Sea.

The Brae fields lie approximately 170 miles north-east of Aberdeen, and it includes three production platforms: Brae Alpha, Brae Bravo and East Brae.

Three equity subsea installations and connecting pipelines, flowlines, control umbilicals and utility/power cables, and export pipelines complete the infrastructure.

The move comes after one of the platforms on the field, the Brae Alpha, was hit by a gas leak in December 2015, followed by production shutdown after which the operating company never reported of production restoration.

According to International Business Times, the decision to accelerate the decommissioning process was made after the incident in December.

The decommissioning of offshore oil and gas installations and pipelines on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS) is controlled through the Petroleum Act 1998, as amended by the Energy Act 2008.

Operators must submit a detailed program for the decommissioning of offshore installations and pipelines. These are considered on a case-by-case basis by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Petroleum Act.

In its February 2016 report, Marathon oil proposed to submit two Decommissioning Program documents each supported by an Environmental Statement. The company said that one of each of these documents would detail the decommissioning of the East Brae and Braemar facilities and associated pipelines and subsea structures.

The other set would detail the rest of the Brae Area, including the Brae Alpha and Brae Bravo platforms, West Brae (including Sedgwick and the West Brae Extension manifold), Central Brae and all associated pipelines and subsea structures. Marathon Oil said it would submit all of these documents simultaneously.


Brae area


Marathon Oil is the operator of the field, and TAQA Bratani, TAQA Bratani LNS, Centrica Resources, and JX Nippon Exploration and Production are equity partners.

Brae Alpha started production in 1983, Brae Bravo in 1988 and East Brae in 1993. The Central and West Brae/Sedgwick subsea tiebacks to Brae Alpha started production in 1989 and 1997, respectively. The Braemar subsea tieback to East Brae started production in 2003.

Liquids from the Brae Area are exported via the Forties pipeline to Cruden Bay, and then on to Kinneil near Grangemouth. Gas is transported via the Scottish Area Gas Evacuation (SAGE) pipeline to the SAGE terminal at St. Fergus.

Offshore Energy Today reached out to Marathon Oil seeking confirmation of these reports.

In an emailed statement, the company’s spokesperson denied the allegations that Brae decommissioning plans have been accelerated. Further, the spokesperson said that there was no connection between the decommissioning planning program and the December Brae Alpha incident.

When it comes to production on Brae Alpha, the spokesperson said: “Repairs are underway with resumption of full production expected in the second quarter.”


The article has been updated to include a statement by Marathon Oil

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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