There are a number of measures in place to ensure that communities are not left with the legacy of our operations:

  • The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) will look at the competence of the company – more specifically the following factors: technical experience and capability to supervise, manage and undertake the proposed operation, their risk-assessment and hierarchy of decision-making, plans for public engagement and scope of relevant insurance coverage for operations and well abandonment activity.
  • The OGA will ensure that no well consents are issued unless they are satisfied that sufficient funds exist to meet actual drilling costs and the decommissioning of the well.
  • The Environmental Regulator will not allow permits to be handed back until they are satisfied the environmental impact is low.
  • Operators will also have appropriate insurance in place which will provide cover with respect to loss of well control, third party liability and environmental liability both during operations and in the longer term.
  • Operators will also have in place where required letters of credit, bonds and parental or partner guarantees.
  • With respect to local authorities, planning consent for the site may also include conditions designed to ensure that the site is restored to its original condition.

The likelihood of long-term failure of decommissioned UOG wells that were well constructed and abandoned is considered to be low.

Independent report for Scottish Government on decommissioning by AECOM, 2016