No end in sight

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Delayed disposal: the Brent Sp (Credit: AP / PTI)THE disused Brent Spar oil storage platform, whose possible disposal at sea caused a major storm last summer, has yet to find a resting place. Shell, its owner, has now come up with a plan which includes several options to dismantle the rig at sea before being completely broken up on land.

Shell's initiative, which was made public on February 22, incorporates the process of breaking the rig piece by piece while it remains in 'a vertical floating position, or else rotating it to remove large sections which can then be placed on barges for its journey to the shore. Shell also wants that contractors bidding for the disposal work consider the option of recycling parts of the 14,500 tonne contraption either as part of a harbour or as a fish ranch.

The company, however, has the difficult task of first convincing the government that such alternatives are viable and also favourably inclined to the environment. It may be recalled that Shell's decision to dump the platform in the North Sea in June '95, had several environment groups including Green-peace, and many European countries, up in arms. Such was the furore created that Shell's oil and other products were boycotted in Germany and UK.

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