Dismantle and recycle that oil platform: LETTER

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The Independent Online
From Mr Kenneth Haggett

Sir: In your leading article "Greenpeace, right or wrong" (16 June), you say that the energy used to dispose of the platform on land would be greater than dumping at sea. You forget to take into account the fact that, if disposed of on land, the thousands of tons of steel would be recycled, thus saving much of the energy consumed in mining, transporting and smelting iron ore to make new steel.

Taking this into account, the net energy, and thus carbon dioxide emission, costs of recycling the platform would be far less than dumping. In addition, although, as you correctly point out, the tax-payer would indirectly pay a large part of the cost, this has to be set against the saving on social security payments and income from tax produced by the employment the dismantling process would create.

Costs of dismantlement of anything, however, can be reduced drastically if the requirement to dismantle is put into the design brief. Where dismantlement and recycling are made mandatory by governments from the start, industry will take this into account at the design stage. That should be the main lesson from what has become a public relations fiasco, both for Shell and the British government.




Ebeneezer Micklethwaite Institute


16 June