Two gas platforms off the Lancashire coast to be decommissioned

The DP3 platform in Morecambe Bay
The DP3 platform in Morecambe Bay
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Two unmanned installations which used to produce gas in Morecambe Bay will be taken out of service and removed under plans to be submitted by Spirit Energy.

The announcement comes as the the Committee on Climate Change released a report saying that too many new UK homes fail to live up to energy efficiency standards and that from 2025 at the latest, no new homes should be connected to the gas grid.

It said greenhouse gas emissions from homes were a big problem through burning gas for cooking, heating and hot water.

The DP3 and DP4 platforms in the East Irish Sea used to produce gas as part of Spirit Energy’s complex of eight installations in Morecambe Bay.

As the field has matured, the reserves the platforms previously tapped into have been produced by the larger, manned South Morecambe platform nearby. Over the next three years, they will be prepared for full removal and then taken back to shore, with the aim of reusing or recycling more than 95 per cent.

Alongside the removal and recycling of a combined 22,000 tons of platform infrastructure, the Centrica-owned firm’s proposals for the multimillion-pound project also include the plug and abandonment of 12 wells, permanently isolating the facilities from the gas reservoir 1km below the seabed.

Mark Fotheringham, from Spirit Energy, said: “The DP3 and DP4 platforms have produced gas for over 30 years, and now with those reserves being produced via the South Morecambe platform it’s the right time for us to decommission those installations.

“The combined Morecambe Bay fields produce enough gas to heat more than one million UK homes, and will continue to do so while we work on removing this infrastructure in a safe and environmentally responsible way over the coming years.”

The DP3 and DP4 installations first produced gas in 1985 when the South Morecambe field came online. The project to decommission the two platforms follows similar plans for the nearby Bains field, which produced gas via subsea infrastructure connected back to the main South Morecambe platform.

Spirit Energy has now launched a public consultation on the decommissioning programmes for the DP3 and DP4 installations, before the final plans will be submitted to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for approval.