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Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.A ) said Wednesday it submitted a plan to the British government for the decommissioning of production assets in its Brent oil and gas field in the North Sea after 40 years.

The Brent field, after which the international crude price benchmark is named, has produced about 3 billion barrels of oil equivalent since 1976, accounting for almost 10% of UK production, the company said.

The government began an extended 60-day public consultation on recommendations about dismantling the production platforms. Following the public consultation period, the recommendations will be considered by the government alongside consultation responses, Shell said. Providing that the government accepts the recommendations, it will then seek the support for the necessary derogations from the OSPAR Commission, a body set up under the OSPAR Convention to protect the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic, on Shell's behalf, it said.

"Shell has undertaken thorough analysis, extensive scientific research and detailed consultation with over 180 stakeholder organisations over the past 10 years," Duncan Manning, Brent decommissioning asset manager, said. "Working within the tightly defined regulatory process, we believe that our recommendations are safe, technically achievable, environmentally sound and financially responsible."

The company aims to remove the upper steel jacket on the Brent Alpha platform, along with the topsides of the four Brent platforms, debris lying on the seabed, and the attic oil contained within the concrete storage cells of the gravity base structures. The company has also outlined proposals for the 28 pipelines connected to the Brent field, it said.

American depository shares fell 1.1% on Wednesday afternoon.

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