An evidence-based approach for the effects of decommissioning options on Marine Protected Area conservation and ecosystem services (DECOM-MPA).

Lead Research Organisation: University of Hull
Department Name: Biological Sciences

Abstract

Project Description:
DECOM-MPA will develop a Decision Support Document (DSD) and strengthen the evidence base to support decision making for decommissioning oil and gas infrastructure on the qualifying features and integrity of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The DSD will meet the current requirements of the regulatory regime, but provide flexibility to evolve in response to changing regulations. Stakeholders as partners is considered essential to a successful project and significantly increases the likelihood that outputs will be applied to real-world decision-making.

Objectives:
(1) To develop a user-friendly DSD to facilitate decision-making for understanding the impacts (positive and negative) of decommissioning operations on the condition of MPA qualifying features and site integrity;
(2) To gather and assess (providing confidence scores) the best available scientific evidence to underpin the assessment of impacts of decommissioning options on major marine habitats and species, including taking an innovative natural capital focus;
(3) To engage end-users (incl. industry, industry bodies, SNCBs, regulators & academia) throughout the project to provide proof of concept, identify sources of evidence and provide case studies;
(4) To assess potential short and long-term impacts of decommissioning options on MPA qualifying features and site integrity using industry-led case study examples from the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reefs cSAC/SCI, and
(5) To provide end-users with an innovative and user-friendly evidence-based approach to better understand the risks, opportunities and impacts of decommissioning on MPAs and the wider marine environment.

Impacts:
Although it is unlikely that the full impacts of DECOM-MPA will be measurable within the project timescale, expected impacts will provide the best combination of:

Environmental benefits:
- maintained or enhanced MPA integrity;
- reduced impact on marine ecosystems;
- maximisation of ecosystem service provision;
- improved scientific evidence base to support sustainable decommissioning (as well as renewable energy and other construction activities within MPAs).
Economic benefits:
- support a transparent decision process, decreasing the likelihood of challenging the method selection and reducing associated additional time and cost of regulatory reviews of decommissioning programmes;
- early insights into risks and opportunities presented by decommissioning operations;
- strengthened links with academia to influence the future research agenda to deliver industry-relevant knowledge, and
- enhancing transferability potential of decision support products to other areas.
Societal benefits:
- enhanced sustainability and societal acceptability of selected decommissioning options;
- translating existing knowledge to make it useable and accessible to users;
- improved knowledge gained through research (cognitive benefits);
- identifying unrealised benefits from decommissioning options within and out with MPAs;
- identified knowledge gaps improving efficiency of public research spending, and
- enhanced reputation by exporting UK scientific excellence to inform global decommissioning solutions.

Keywords: Decision Support Document, stakeholders, Marine Protected Areas, decommissioning, oil & gas, evidence, assessment, case studies

Key Stakeholders: BEIS, JNCC, NE, SNH, Oil and Gas Industry, Oil and Gas Industry Representatives, Marine Scotland, MMO

Planned Impact

Several stakeholders will benefit through the adoption and shared use of the Decision Support Document (DSD). The underlying scientific evidence base to support the procedures outlined in the DSD is required by statutory bodies, other organisations such as NGOs and industry. DECOM-MPA will adopt a natural capital focus to the work that will summarise the environmental information in terms of how marine systems can be viewed as 'natural assets' that provide ecosystem services to other stakeholders and society. This approach will help identify common units and metrics for assessing the effects of decommissioning scenarios on natural assets, and thus ecosystem service delivery potential. Smart decommissioning solutions are likely to provide a range of additional goods and benefits to other stakeholders in other sectors (e.g. coastal flooding attenuation, recreation opportunities). Potential business benefits to the oil and gas industry will be assessed (e.g. operational cost savings, job creation) for adopting a new approach to sustainable decommissioning.

Use by JNCC and the SNCBs will facilitate proportionate, risk-based, objective and evidence-based decision-making that will improve advice on how decommissioning can affect protected features within MPAs (e.g. Marine Conservation Zones and Special Areas of Conservation) and site integrity of MPAs. The inclusion of far-field interactions in the assessment will also assist the JNCC, SNCBs and BEIS in understanding the interaction between decommissioning projects and nearby sites. The advice generated by the SNCBs is ultimately provided to BEIS as the industrial regulator. This will enable effective delivery of advice for strategic decommissioning that provides the best environmental outcomes for MPAs and also economic benefits for industry and wider society.

The use of the outputs by the O&G industry aids the identification of the decommissioning option with least environmental impact, and can be used both at a project level to understand individual decommissioning situations and at a plan level when considering wider scale works. This provides clear and objective directions for industry that are aligned with the considerations undertaken by BEIS (as the regulator) and its consultees. The early and independent alignment between both parties will increase the focus and speed of the decommissioning decision-making process, reduce delays and lessen the uncertainty while decreasing the risks posed to industry and the environment. The project outcomes will thus provide support to the wider mandatory comparative assessment of decommissioning options as required by BEIS.

For the public perception of the decommissioning process, the alignment of industrial and regulatory considerations via the shared use of the DSD, will indicate a more harmonious process of shared knowledge and aspirations. This will be influential in reducing the fears of stakeholders concerned with the timely delivery of a safe and environmentally sympathetic decommissioning process.

Much of the evidence and considerations built into the DSD will be relevant for other offshore industries that have deployed concrete and steel structures, including offshore wind which has expanded greatly in recent years. It will provide clear and early guidance on the preferred approaches to decommissioning, thereby allowing industry to plan the deployment and operation of these structures accordingly causing the least impact to the qualifying features and site integrity of MPAs. The project outcomes will influence management decisions regarding shoreline management, integrated coastal management, marine spatial planning, Strategic Environmental Assessment and related adaptive strategies.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Many global offshore oil and gas production facilities are nearing the end of their operational life; in the UK alone >8,000 platforms, pipelines and wells will need decommissioning within the next 30 years. Compatibility of decommissioning operations within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) creates further challenges, including compromising the ability to meet conservation objectives and posing a risk to rare and threatened species. To address these challenges, the DECOM-MPA project was co-developed by representatives from the regulator, industry, statutory nature conservation bodies (SNCBs), a consultancy and academia. The main outputs from the project include the production of three scientific papers (Burdon et al., submitted; Mazik et al., in prep.; Barnard et al., in prep.) for publication in high impact international scientific journals; presentations to academics and user groups in national and international meetings and workshops, and the development of the SPIDA ('Screening Potential Impacts of Decommissioning Activities') database tool for the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef SAC. Stakeholder engagement and dissemination logs captured the breadth and depth of knowledge exchange throughout the project. The key outcome from the project is in meeting the needs of the SNCBs, governmental regulators and oil and gas industry to find the best and most sustainable ways of dealing with decommissioning while still protecting the marine environment. This has also resulted in strengthening the links between all parties to influence the future research agenda; a better understanding of the complexity of decommissioning within MPAs, and an improved scientific evidence base to support sustainable decommissioning (as well as renewable energy and other construction activities within MPAs). In particular the industry and regulators required a more transparent and streamlined approach to the decommissioning of oil and gas infrastructure within MPAs thereby saving time and money in the increasing number of applications likely over the next decades. The main impacts from the DECOM-MPA project include environmental benefits (e.g. reduced potential impact on MPAs and the potential to enhance their ecosystem services), economic benefits (e.g. cost savings from analysing the risks and opportunities in decommissioning), societal benefits (e.g. better protection of the environment and value-for-money in public spending) and research benefits (e.g. identifying knowledge gaps and producing a tool relevant to decommissioning worldwide thus enhancing UK scientific excellence and reputation).
Exploitation Route Current decommissioning applications within the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef SAC will be able to use the SPIDA tool as part of their assessments and the tool can be applied to other sites with the same features e.g. Haisborough, Hammond and Winterton SAC, Margate and Long Sands SAC. The use of SPIDA could be explored for the assessment of decommissioning of other activities e.g. cables, offshore wind. As SPIDA provides an evidence-based transparent methodology for comparative assessment (spatially and temporally) for ongoing decommissioning, the Decision Support Framework could also be applied to decommissioning activities outside of UK waters. The DECOM-MPA outputs also provide a means of testing other frameworks and decision-making approaches for decommissioning of oil and gas structures within or adjacent to MPAs.
Sectors Energy,Environment,Other

 
Description NERC funding enabled the relevant stakeholders to participate throughout the duration of the project, via five online project steering group meetings, two face-to-face stakeholder workshops held in Aberdeen and informal stakeholder engagement via telephone and e-mail. By engaging representatives from the regulators (BEIS), industry (Shell UK Ltd), SNCBs (JNCC and Natural England), consultants (Hartley Anderson Ltd.) and academics (University of Hull and Heriot Watt) it ensured that the project outputs were fit-for-purpose. The second stakeholder workshop also ensured that a wider range of marine stakeholders were engaged in the project and were given the opportunity to feed into the process. The second workshop was attended by 29 individuals from 17 organisations (including Aberdeen University, BP, ECAP, Edinburgh University, Fairfield Energy, Genesis Oil & Gas, Hartley Anderson, Heriot Watt, UHULL, JNCC, Marine Scotland, MMO, Natural England, NFFO, OPRED (BEIS), Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF), Shell UK Ltd.). In addition, informal stakeholder engagement was undertaken by all project partners within the UK and also internationally, for example, discussions were had been the project team and decommissioning authorities in Italy. A full record of stakeholder engagement activities has been recorded in the DECOM-MPA Stakeholder Log. The DECOM-MPA project has been disseminated extensively both within the UK and internationally, to both scientific and industrial audiences and the user community. The project has thus far been presented at 12 conferences/workshops in the UK (e.g. MASTS conference, SUT Decommissioning Workshop, Valuing Nature Conference) and overseas (e.g. Xiamen & Shanghai, China; Rhode Island, USA) to over 2,000 international scientists and industry representatives. This extensive dissemination has ensured that the excellent research undertaken within this project has been disseminated to relevant stakeholders within the UK and internationally. A full record of dissemination activities has been recorded in the DECOM-MPA Dissemination Log. In co-producing the Decision Support Framework with all project partners this resulted in a transparent framework which all stakeholders can use to structure future discussions around decommissioning. The co-production of the framework has also strengthened the working relationships between the regulator, industry, SNCBs and academia. The collaborative identification of gaps in current knowledge will help influence the future research agenda to deliver industry-relevant knowledge. Even at this early stage, the user community has indicated by email that they wish to be involved in progressing the development of the tool to an industry-compliant and ready real-time management application. The SPIDA database tool is innovative in that it combines all the evidence contained within various tables, matrices and spreadsheets that are currently used by stakeholders to support decisions with respect to decommissioning, into a single user-friendly decision support tool. This ensures that the regulators and industry are less-overwhelmed by the wealth of supporting material thereby making their decision-making more efficient and more effective. In addition, SPIDA has been designed with in-built flexibility so can be adapted to a wide range of marine activities and their associated pressures in the future, or can be updated with improved scientific evidence. At present, the key types of beneficiaries from the DECOM-MPA project are represented within the project team, and include the oil and gas industry (Shell UK), the regulator (BEIS), SNCBs (e.g. JNCC, Natural England), consultants (Hartley Anderson) and academia (University of Hull and Heriot Watt). Following continued stakeholder engagement and dissemination of the project outputs the beneficiaries will likely become more diverse (see below). The full potential impact from DECOM-MPA is difficult to quantify at this time given that the project is still at the proof of concept stage. With the production of the concept paper (Burdon et al., submitted), the proof-of-concept paper (Barnard et al., in prep.) and the review of background data paper (Mazik et al., in prep.) then this will increase acceptance and take-up of the approaches developed. Further testing and subsequent refinement of the SPIDA tool, in conjunction with continued stakeholder input, will enable a demonstration of the likely impact of the project for the regulator, industry and other stakeholders. The project team are currently in discussions regarding potential future funding opportunities and especially in follow-on initiatives to take the tool to a state used in real-time by the regulators and industry. As yet, it is not possible to give the financial savings to industry and regulators from using the tool but those involved in the project have indicated that it will replace laborious analyses of matrices in decision-making. In this way, it will both reduce costs but also make decision-making more defendable and transparent. The impact of the DECOM-MPA project has the potential to provide an Impact Statement for the UK Universities Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF2021) and this aspect will be pursued over the remaining time of the current REF period. There is a high expectation for this given that UHULL was ranked 3rd for Impact in UoA17 at the last REF by including an Impact Statement from the team involved in this project.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Energy,Environment,Other
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Title Screening for Potential Impacts of Decommissioning Activities ('SPIDA') database tool 
Description The SPIDA database tool has been developed and applied to help better understand the risks, opportunities and impacts of decommissioning on marine protected areas (MPAs). SPIDA provides a transparent and standardised output which can be used by the oil and gas industry and their regulators in reaching the best decisions for the three pillars of sustainable development: the economy, environment and society. The tool builds on existing peer-reviewed evidence relating to the links between the different activities in decommissioning, such as removing rigs and pipelines, and their environmental effects on the seabed, fishes, seabirds, etc. The tool includes the sensitivity of those ecological features, the marine processes which are required by them and the ecosystem services and societal benefits provided by protected features. For example, it was necessary to determine the effects of decommissioning on the seabed sediments, and in turn the seabed prey of fishes and the resulting fisheries. As such, underlying supporting evidence can be updated as and when it becomes available. The project development of the SPIDA tool relates to conservation features of the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reefs SAC (i.e. sandbanks and reefs of the marine worm Sabellaria) however the modular structure of this database tool allows for additional features to be included and will permit its application to other industries. SPIDA has been designed to be flexible so it can also be adapted to a wide range of marine activities. For example, other designated features for MPAs of interest could be added and the tool could be readily adapted for application to other sectors (e.g. offshore wind, fisheries). The knowledge translation and dissemination in the project, and especially the hands-on exercises in workshops involving industry and regulators, acted as continued professional development for those workers. By exposing stakeholders to recently-developed and novel ideas on marine science and management will enable more successful and sustainable solutions to an increasing environmental challenge. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact A number of future potential impacts of SPIDA have been identified and have been grouped here into short, medium and long term impacts. Short term impacts include: The development and provision of the SPIDA tool to support industry and the Regulatory Authorities in their assessment of the best practical environmental option for decommissioning of oil and gas structures within or adjacent to MPAs in the Southern North Sea; current decommissioning applications within the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef SAC will be able to use the SPIDA tool as part of their assessments and the tool can be applied to other sites with the same features e.g. Haisborough, Hammond and Winterton SAC, Margate and Long Sands SAC. In addition, the strong links established with stakeholders and regulators which have been established as part of the DECOM-MPA project are currently being explored for further research collaboration; the stakeholders have expressed a willingness to take the approach further. Medium term impacts include: the use of SPIDA could be explored for the assessment of decommissioning of other activities e.g. cables, offshore wind. As SPIDA provides an evidence-based transparent methodology for comparative assessment (spatially and temporally) for ongoing decommissioning, the Decision Support Framework could also be applied to decommissioning activities outside of UK waters. The DECOM-MPA outputs also provide a means of testing other frameworks and decision-making approaches for decommissioning of oil and gas structures within or adjacent to MPAs. Long term impacts include: making the tool industry-compliant and required for use by regulators by its further development to increase its spatial applicability and increase its potential use as a decision-making tool rather than a decision-support tool. It is expected that the DECOM-MPA outputs could contribute to final adoption of decision-making approaches for decommissioning of oil and gas structures both within designated MPAs and in all similar marine areas. In this, the tool and approaches contribute to harmonising Maritime Spatial Planning and marine quality assessments and management (Elliott et al., in revision), to meeting the Government's 25 year Environment Plan and the meeting of the Sustainable Development Goal #14 (Cormier & Elliott, 2017). 
 
Description DECOM-MPA Project Partners 
Organisation Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The University of Hull co-ordinated the project and led on all aspects of the research work. This included applying the Drivers-Activities-Pressures-State changes-Impacts(on Welfare)-Response(as Measures) problem structuring framework (DAPSI(W)R(M)), which was recently developed and published by the PI and members of the research team (Elliott et al., 2017), but which was applied in the DECOM-MPA project for the first time to the oil and gas industry. The University of Hull also led the development of the SPIDA database tool which built on the expertise of Steve Barnard, who developed earlier versions of the tool when he was previously employed as the Net Gain MCZ stakeholder manager. Finally, the ecosystem service and goods/benefits matrices which were developed by Dr Daryl Burdon and colleagues under the NERC-funded Valuing Nature Network, were built into the database tool to ensure that wider ecosystem services and benefits were incorporated into oil and gas decommissioning decisions.
Collaborator Contribution In co-producing the Decision Support Framework with all project partners this resulted in a transparent framework which all stakeholders can use to structure future discussions around decommissioning. The co-production of the framework has also strengthened the working relationships between the regulator, industry, SNCBs and academia. The collaborative identification of gaps in current knowledge will help influence the future research agenda to deliver industry-relevant knowledge. By taking part in two stakeholder workshops, and attending 5 steering group meeting, the project partners have been engaged with all stages of the project from the proposal stage, through the research and development, through to the writing up of the research. This exchange of knowledge throughout the project has ensured that the outputs are fit for purpose, having been co-designed and road tested by the project partners, and are based on the best available science. Even at this early stage, the user community has indicated by email that they wish to be involved in progressing the development of the tool to an industry-compliant and ready real-time management application.
Impact The main outputs from the project include the production of three scientific papers (Burdon et al., submitted; Mazik et al., in prep.; Barnard et al., in prep.) for publication in high impact international scientific journals; presentations to academics and user groups in national and international meetings and workshops, and the development of the SPIDA ('Screening Potential Impacts of Decommissioning Activities') database tool for the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef SAC. Stakeholder engagement and dissemination logs captured the breadth and depth of knowledge exchange throughout the project. The key outcome from the project is in meeting the needs of the SNCBs, governmental regulators and oil and gas industry to find the best and most sustainable ways of dealing with decommissioning while still protecting the marine environment. These outputs and outcomes would not have been possible without the input from all the project partners. The multi-partner and multi-disciplinary approach ensured that the project had expertise in oil and gas engineering, marine ecology, ecological economics, marine policy and governance, nature conservation, database development, and project management.
Start Year 2017
 
Description DECOM-MPA Project Partners 
Organisation Hartley Anderson Ltd
PI Contribution The University of Hull co-ordinated the project and led on all aspects of the research work. This included applying the Drivers-Activities-Pressures-State changes-Impacts(on Welfare)-Response(as Measures) problem structuring framework (DAPSI(W)R(M)), which was recently developed and published by the PI and members of the research team (Elliott et al., 2017), but which was applied in the DECOM-MPA project for the first time to the oil and gas industry. The University of Hull also led the development of the SPIDA database tool which built on the expertise of Steve Barnard, who developed earlier versions of the tool when he was previously employed as the Net Gain MCZ stakeholder manager. Finally, the ecosystem service and goods/benefits matrices which were developed by Dr Daryl Burdon and colleagues under the NERC-funded Valuing Nature Network, were built into the database tool to ensure that wider ecosystem services and benefits were incorporated into oil and gas decommissioning decisions.
Collaborator Contribution In co-producing the Decision Support Framework with all project partners this resulted in a transparent framework which all stakeholders can use to structure future discussions around decommissioning. The co-production of the framework has also strengthened the working relationships between the regulator, industry, SNCBs and academia. The collaborative identification of gaps in current knowledge will help influence the future research agenda to deliver industry-relevant knowledge. By taking part in two stakeholder workshops, and attending 5 steering group meeting, the project partners have been engaged with all stages of the project from the proposal stage, through the research and development, through to the writing up of the research. This exchange of knowledge throughout the project has ensured that the outputs are fit for purpose, having been co-designed and road tested by the project partners, and are based on the best available science. Even at this early stage, the user community has indicated by email that they wish to be involved in progressing the development of the tool to an industry-compliant and ready real-time management application.
Impact The main outputs from the project include the production of three scientific papers (Burdon et al., submitted; Mazik et al., in prep.; Barnard et al., in prep.) for publication in high impact international scientific journals; presentations to academics and user groups in national and international meetings and workshops, and the development of the SPIDA ('Screening Potential Impacts of Decommissioning Activities') database tool for the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef SAC. Stakeholder engagement and dissemination logs captured the breadth and depth of knowledge exchange throughout the project. The key outcome from the project is in meeting the needs of the SNCBs, governmental regulators and oil and gas industry to find the best and most sustainable ways of dealing with decommissioning while still protecting the marine environment. These outputs and outcomes would not have been possible without the input from all the project partners. The multi-partner and multi-disciplinary approach ensured that the project had expertise in oil and gas engineering, marine ecology, ecological economics, marine policy and governance, nature conservation, database development, and project management.
Start Year 2017
 
Description DECOM-MPA Project Partners 
Organisation Heriot-Watt University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The University of Hull co-ordinated the project and led on all aspects of the research work. This included applying the Drivers-Activities-Pressures-State changes-Impacts(on Welfare)-Response(as Measures) problem structuring framework (DAPSI(W)R(M)), which was recently developed and published by the PI and members of the research team (Elliott et al., 2017), but which was applied in the DECOM-MPA project for the first time to the oil and gas industry. The University of Hull also led the development of the SPIDA database tool which built on the expertise of Steve Barnard, who developed earlier versions of the tool when he was previously employed as the Net Gain MCZ stakeholder manager. Finally, the ecosystem service and goods/benefits matrices which were developed by Dr Daryl Burdon and colleagues under the NERC-funded Valuing Nature Network, were built into the database tool to ensure that wider ecosystem services and benefits were incorporated into oil and gas decommissioning decisions.
Collaborator Contribution In co-producing the Decision Support Framework with all project partners this resulted in a transparent framework which all stakeholders can use to structure future discussions around decommissioning. The co-production of the framework has also strengthened the working relationships between the regulator, industry, SNCBs and academia. The collaborative identification of gaps in current knowledge will help influence the future research agenda to deliver industry-relevant knowledge. By taking part in two stakeholder workshops, and attending 5 steering group meeting, the project partners have been engaged with all stages of the project from the proposal stage, through the research and development, through to the writing up of the research. This exchange of knowledge throughout the project has ensured that the outputs are fit for purpose, having been co-designed and road tested by the project partners, and are based on the best available science. Even at this early stage, the user community has indicated by email that they wish to be involved in progressing the development of the tool to an industry-compliant and ready real-time management application.
Impact The main outputs from the project include the production of three scientific papers (Burdon et al., submitted; Mazik et al., in prep.; Barnard et al., in prep.) for publication in high impact international scientific journals; presentations to academics and user groups in national and international meetings and workshops, and the development of the SPIDA ('Screening Potential Impacts of Decommissioning Activities') database tool for the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef SAC. Stakeholder engagement and dissemination logs captured the breadth and depth of knowledge exchange throughout the project. The key outcome from the project is in meeting the needs of the SNCBs, governmental regulators and oil and gas industry to find the best and most sustainable ways of dealing with decommissioning while still protecting the marine environment. These outputs and outcomes would not have been possible without the input from all the project partners. The multi-partner and multi-disciplinary approach ensured that the project had expertise in oil and gas engineering, marine ecology, ecological economics, marine policy and governance, nature conservation, database development, and project management.
Start Year 2017
 
Description DECOM-MPA Project Partners 
Organisation Joint Nature Conservancy Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The University of Hull co-ordinated the project and led on all aspects of the research work. This included applying the Drivers-Activities-Pressures-State changes-Impacts(on Welfare)-Response(as Measures) problem structuring framework (DAPSI(W)R(M)), which was recently developed and published by the PI and members of the research team (Elliott et al., 2017), but which was applied in the DECOM-MPA project for the first time to the oil and gas industry. The University of Hull also led the development of the SPIDA database tool which built on the expertise of Steve Barnard, who developed earlier versions of the tool when he was previously employed as the Net Gain MCZ stakeholder manager. Finally, the ecosystem service and goods/benefits matrices which were developed by Dr Daryl Burdon and colleagues under the NERC-funded Valuing Nature Network, were built into the database tool to ensure that wider ecosystem services and benefits were incorporated into oil and gas decommissioning decisions.
Collaborator Contribution In co-producing the Decision Support Framework with all project partners this resulted in a transparent framework which all stakeholders can use to structure future discussions around decommissioning. The co-production of the framework has also strengthened the working relationships between the regulator, industry, SNCBs and academia. The collaborative identification of gaps in current knowledge will help influence the future research agenda to deliver industry-relevant knowledge. By taking part in two stakeholder workshops, and attending 5 steering group meeting, the project partners have been engaged with all stages of the project from the proposal stage, through the research and development, through to the writing up of the research. This exchange of knowledge throughout the project has ensured that the outputs are fit for purpose, having been co-designed and road tested by the project partners, and are based on the best available science. Even at this early stage, the user community has indicated by email that they wish to be involved in progressing the development of the tool to an industry-compliant and ready real-time management application.
Impact The main outputs from the project include the production of three scientific papers (Burdon et al., submitted; Mazik et al., in prep.; Barnard et al., in prep.) for publication in high impact international scientific journals; presentations to academics and user groups in national and international meetings and workshops, and the development of the SPIDA ('Screening Potential Impacts of Decommissioning Activities') database tool for the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef SAC. Stakeholder engagement and dissemination logs captured the breadth and depth of knowledge exchange throughout the project. The key outcome from the project is in meeting the needs of the SNCBs, governmental regulators and oil and gas industry to find the best and most sustainable ways of dealing with decommissioning while still protecting the marine environment. These outputs and outcomes would not have been possible without the input from all the project partners. The multi-partner and multi-disciplinary approach ensured that the project had expertise in oil and gas engineering, marine ecology, ecological economics, marine policy and governance, nature conservation, database development, and project management.
Start Year 2017
 
Description DECOM-MPA Project Partners 
Organisation Natural England
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The University of Hull co-ordinated the project and led on all aspects of the research work. This included applying the Drivers-Activities-Pressures-State changes-Impacts(on Welfare)-Response(as Measures) problem structuring framework (DAPSI(W)R(M)), which was recently developed and published by the PI and members of the research team (Elliott et al., 2017), but which was applied in the DECOM-MPA project for the first time to the oil and gas industry. The University of Hull also led the development of the SPIDA database tool which built on the expertise of Steve Barnard, who developed earlier versions of the tool when he was previously employed as the Net Gain MCZ stakeholder manager. Finally, the ecosystem service and goods/benefits matrices which were developed by Dr Daryl Burdon and colleagues under the NERC-funded Valuing Nature Network, were built into the database tool to ensure that wider ecosystem services and benefits were incorporated into oil and gas decommissioning decisions.
Collaborator Contribution In co-producing the Decision Support Framework with all project partners this resulted in a transparent framework which all stakeholders can use to structure future discussions around decommissioning. The co-production of the framework has also strengthened the working relationships between the regulator, industry, SNCBs and academia. The collaborative identification of gaps in current knowledge will help influence the future research agenda to deliver industry-relevant knowledge. By taking part in two stakeholder workshops, and attending 5 steering group meeting, the project partners have been engaged with all stages of the project from the proposal stage, through the research and development, through to the writing up of the research. This exchange of knowledge throughout the project has ensured that the outputs are fit for purpose, having been co-designed and road tested by the project partners, and are based on the best available science. Even at this early stage, the user community has indicated by email that they wish to be involved in progressing the development of the tool to an industry-compliant and ready real-time management application.
Impact The main outputs from the project include the production of three scientific papers (Burdon et al., submitted; Mazik et al., in prep.; Barnard et al., in prep.) for publication in high impact international scientific journals; presentations to academics and user groups in national and international meetings and workshops, and the development of the SPIDA ('Screening Potential Impacts of Decommissioning Activities') database tool for the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef SAC. Stakeholder engagement and dissemination logs captured the breadth and depth of knowledge exchange throughout the project. The key outcome from the project is in meeting the needs of the SNCBs, governmental regulators and oil and gas industry to find the best and most sustainable ways of dealing with decommissioning while still protecting the marine environment. These outputs and outcomes would not have been possible without the input from all the project partners. The multi-partner and multi-disciplinary approach ensured that the project had expertise in oil and gas engineering, marine ecology, ecological economics, marine policy and governance, nature conservation, database development, and project management.
Start Year 2017
 
Description DECOM-MPA Project Partners 
Organisation Shell International Petroleum
Department Shell UK Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The University of Hull co-ordinated the project and led on all aspects of the research work. This included applying the Drivers-Activities-Pressures-State changes-Impacts(on Welfare)-Response(as Measures) problem structuring framework (DAPSI(W)R(M)), which was recently developed and published by the PI and members of the research team (Elliott et al., 2017), but which was applied in the DECOM-MPA project for the first time to the oil and gas industry. The University of Hull also led the development of the SPIDA database tool which built on the expertise of Steve Barnard, who developed earlier versions of the tool when he was previously employed as the Net Gain MCZ stakeholder manager. Finally, the ecosystem service and goods/benefits matrices which were developed by Dr Daryl Burdon and colleagues under the NERC-funded Valuing Nature Network, were built into the database tool to ensure that wider ecosystem services and benefits were incorporated into oil and gas decommissioning decisions.
Collaborator Contribution In co-producing the Decision Support Framework with all project partners this resulted in a transparent framework which all stakeholders can use to structure future discussions around decommissioning. The co-production of the framework has also strengthened the working relationships between the regulator, industry, SNCBs and academia. The collaborative identification of gaps in current knowledge will help influence the future research agenda to deliver industry-relevant knowledge. By taking part in two stakeholder workshops, and attending 5 steering group meeting, the project partners have been engaged with all stages of the project from the proposal stage, through the research and development, through to the writing up of the research. This exchange of knowledge throughout the project has ensured that the outputs are fit for purpose, having been co-designed and road tested by the project partners, and are based on the best available science. Even at this early stage, the user community has indicated by email that they wish to be involved in progressing the development of the tool to an industry-compliant and ready real-time management application.
Impact The main outputs from the project include the production of three scientific papers (Burdon et al., submitted; Mazik et al., in prep.; Barnard et al., in prep.) for publication in high impact international scientific journals; presentations to academics and user groups in national and international meetings and workshops, and the development of the SPIDA ('Screening Potential Impacts of Decommissioning Activities') database tool for the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef SAC. Stakeholder engagement and dissemination logs captured the breadth and depth of knowledge exchange throughout the project. The key outcome from the project is in meeting the needs of the SNCBs, governmental regulators and oil and gas industry to find the best and most sustainable ways of dealing with decommissioning while still protecting the marine environment. These outputs and outcomes would not have been possible without the input from all the project partners. The multi-partner and multi-disciplinary approach ensured that the project had expertise in oil and gas engineering, marine ecology, ecological economics, marine policy and governance, nature conservation, database development, and project management.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Marine stakeholder workshop #1 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The first stakeholder workshop brought all of the project partners together. This included representatives from the regulator (BEIS), industry (Shell UK), statutory nature conservation bodies (Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Natural England), a consultant (Hartley Anderson Ltd.) and academics (Hull University, Heriot Watt University). The key questions that needed addressing by the research were discussed and a draft decision support framework was developed. Regular Steering group meetings were held throughout the duration of the project (5 in total) to ensure that all project partners were kept informed of progress and also to enable knowledge exchange throughout the process. This approach ensured that the end products were fit for purpose.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Marine stakeholder workshop #2 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The second stakeholder workshop ensured that a wider range of marine stakeholders were engaged in the project and were given the opportunity to feed into the process. The second workshop was attended by 29 individuals from 17 organisations (including Aberdeen University, BP, ECAP, Edinburgh University, Fairfield Energy, Genesis Oil & Gas, Hartley Anderson, Heriot Watt, UHULL, JNCC, Marine Scotland, MMO, Natural England, NFFO, OPRED (BEIS), Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF), Shell UK Ltd.). In addition, informal stakeholder engagement was undertaken by all project partners within the UK and also internationally, for example, discussions were had been the project team and decommissioning authorities in Italy. A full record of stakeholder engagement activities has been recorded in the DECOM-MPA Stakeholder Log.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Multiple project dissemination activities to scientific community and industry 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The DECOM-MPA project has been disseminated extensively both within the UK and internationally, to both scientific and industrial audiences and the user community. The project has thus far been presented at 12 conferences/workshops in the UK (e.g. MASTS conference, SUT Decommissioning Workshop, Valuing Nature Conference) and overseas (e.g. Xiamen & Shanghai, China; Rhode Island, USA) to over 2,000 international scientists and industry representatives. This extensive dissemination has ensured that the excellent research undertaken within this project has been disseminated to relevant stakeholders within the UK and internationally. A full record of dissemination activities has been recorded in the DECOM-MPA Dissemination Log.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018