Plans to decommission the Brent field in the North Sea have been lodged with the UK government.
Shell has already started decommissioning one platform but this new plan is for the whole field.
Brent is iconic because it lends its name to the benchmark of the North Sea, Brent Crude.
A £5m fund to help companies working in the oil and gas supply chain benefit from North Sea decommissioning has also been announced by Nicola Sturgeon.
The first minister launched the fund at Sparrows, an Aberdeen based supply chain company with expertise in decommissioning. Ms Sturgeon also visited exploration technology specialists Zilift Ltd.
The Decommissioning Challenge Fund will help pay for infrastructure upgrades at ports and harbours. It is also aimed at helping firms build business cases for private investment.
The first minister said: “With up to 20 billion barrels of oil and gas remaining, the Scottish government’s top priority remains working with industry and stakeholders to maximise economic recovery from the North Sea. The new £5m fund also recognises that decommissioning is an emerging, but growing, activity in the North Sea, with £17.6bn expected to be spent in the North Sea over the next decade.”
She added: “News today that Shell plans to apply to begin decommissioning its Brent oil field underlines the importance of planning for decommissioning.”
In the next few months, the top portion of the Brent Delta platform is expected to be removed and taken away for scrap.
Image caption More than 100 platforms are expected to be completely or partially removed from the UK and Norwegian continental shelves in the next eight years
Plans for the rest of the infrastructure in the Brent field have been submitted to the UK government.
They are thought to include leaving the legs of some of the platforms in place rather than removing them – which Shell has described as the safest option.
That has caused concern among some environmental groups.
A 60-day consultation will now be launched before ministers decide whether to accept Shell’s plans.
Oil and Gas UK has previously estimated that more than 100 platforms are expected to be completely or partially removed from the UK and Norwegian continental shelves by 2025.
More than 1,800 wells are also scheduled to be plugged and abandoned and 7,500km of pipeline decommissioned.
Brent decommissioning asset manager Duncan Manning said: “After an extensive and in-depth study period, the submission of Shell’s Brent decommissioning programme marks another important milestone in the history of the Brent oil and gas field.”