Shell says it will start consultation this month on decommissioning key North Sea platform

Royal Dutch Shell says it will begin a public consultation this month on dismantling the Brent Delta platform in the North Sea — the first stage in decommissioning a former bulwark of the country's industry.

The oil company said Tuesday it is recommending that the "topside" of the platform be removed in one piece and taken by ship to northeast England. The Department of Energy and Climate Change must approve the project, which wouldn't start until next year.

A second decommissioning program for the remaining infrastructure in the field will be submitted separately.

Shell says Brent has produced around four billion barrels of oil equivalent since 1976. At its peak in 1982, Brent produced enough to meet the energy needs of around half of all UK homes for that year.