A US oil major has rebutted claims that it wants to accelerate the closure of a strategically important oil field in the North Sea.
It comes after media reports suggested Marathon Oil would shutdown the giant Brae Field earlier than planned after a serious gas leak in December last year.
Sir Ian Wood, former chairman of Wood Group and author of a review of the industry’s future, told The Times up that the so-called domino effect means Brace's closure would lead to a loss of production from 13 other fields in the North Sea.
But a Marathon spokesman said the decommissioning of the Brae field had been in the pipeline for several years.
“It is factually incorrect that Brae decommissioning plans have been accelerated," they said.
"There is no linkage between the decommissioning planning programme and the December Brae Alpha incident."
“Decommissioning planning has been underway for several years. We’ve been engaged in industry forums during that time and have made numerous presentations at various conferences."
"Stakeholder engagement is an integral part of planning for decommissioning and Marathon Oil is committed to clear and open communication throughout the process. The Decommissioning Programmes are being developed in accordance with relevant legislation and will be based on assessments of the safety, technical, environmental, socio-economic and financial aspects of decommissioning."