UK ‘undecided’ on Shell’s plan to leave oil waste in the North Sea — Greenpeace response

London, UK – A decision on Shell’s plans to decommission its Brent field platforms in the North Sea and leave their oil waste behind, was deferred today at a special OSPAR Commission meeting in London. The UK government committed to further discussions within OSPAR before deciding on a permit.

Dr David Santillo, senior scientist at Greenpeace International and an observer at the OSPAR meeting said:

“The UK government today heard first hand the breadth and depth of concerns from its North-East Atlantic neighbours on Shell’s plans to leave tens of thousands of tonnes of hazardous waste hidden in the concrete tanks on the seabed. 

“Although the UK committed to ‘further discussion’ before making any decision on a permit, this is no guarantee that Shell will be required to clean up their toxic mess. We need the UK government to see sense and put the goal of protecting the ocean for current and future generations firmly above Shell’s profits. 

“At a time of climate emergency, it’s vital that governments hold oil companies fully to account for their legacy of pollution if we are to make real progress on phasing out of fossil fuels. We will be watching closely.”

Earlier this week, activists from Greenpeace Netherlands, Germany and Denmark boarded two oil platforms in Shell’s Brent field in a peaceful protest against plans by the company to leave parts of old oil structures with 11,000 tonnes of oil in the North Sea. 

Climbers supported by the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, scaled Brent Alpha and Bravo, hung banners saying ‘Clean up your mess, Shell!’ and ‘Stop Ocean Pollution’, and painted ‘TOXIC WASTE’ on the base of the Brent Bravo oil platform.


Photos and videos available here:



Anna Arbogast, press officer, Greenpeace Germany: +49 (0)175 80 41 025

Greenpeace International Press Desk: +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), 

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