Programmes & guidance

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is the competent authority for decommissioning and regulates offshore oil and gas decommissioning under the Petroleum Act 1998.

The OGA works with BEIS and is specifically required to assess decommissioning programmes on the basis of cost, future alternative use and collaboration.

All oil and gas decommissioning operations must be described in a detailed programme, which has undergone an appropriate amount of stakeholder scrutiny.

To be transparent in our consideration of decommissioning programmes, other government departments and agencies, non-governmental organisations, members of the public and other relevant bodies are given the opportunity to comment on the proposals set out in a programme.

Once a programme is sufficiently mature it is submitted to BEIS as part of the consultation process. On satisfactory completion of the consultation process and with stakeholder input the programme requires final approval from BEIS.


Planning for decommissioning operations should begin sufficiently before cessation of production to allow identification and generation of options that create best value for the stakeholders.

Identification of the point in the asset’s lifecycle at which to start planning the decommissioning of an asset (well, platform, pipeline, terminal or section 29 item) is critical.

Planning often begins too late or is confused with other late-life activities such as the cessation of production application. It is thus good business practice to plan the late life of an asset before entering that period.

Specific guidance for well P&A (suspended well, consents, and WONS guidance) can be found here.


Guidance notes

Further details on the decommissioning process, including the role and content of a decommissioning programme, are available in the Guidance notes for industry on the decommissioning of offshore installations and pipelines under the Petroleum Act 1998(PDF, 755KB, 140 pages)


A word version of these templates can also be requested from BEIS. Please email here for further details.