Located nearly 200km north-east of the Shetland Isles, the platform processes production from the main Dunlin field and the Osprey and Merlin subsea fields.

Prior to the £400m phased decommissioning process, which is subject to regulatory approvals, Fairfield aims to shut down production from all Dunlin cluster fields in mid-June.

The cluster includes the Dunlin and Dunlin South-west fields, as well as the Merlin and Osprey fields, in which Fairfield holds the 70% stake and the Mitsubishi owns the remaining 30% interest.

Meanwhile, the oil platform, Dunlin Alpha, will remain manned and operational, continuing to transfer third-party oil into the Brent pipeline.

Fairfield chief executive David Peattie said: "The Dunlin asset has now achieved maximum economic recovery.
"Our investment program has prolonged the life of Dunlin leading to a notable contribution to the British economy and the creation of jobs in North Sea oil and gas."

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "In preparing its decommissioning plans, it’s critical that the company takes all the necessary steps to ensure the marine environment is protected."

The phased decommissioning programme is scheduled to be launched by Fairfield subsidiaries Fairfield Betula and Fairfield Fagus, along with joint venture partner MCX Dunlin, and will last several years with ‘high offshore activity levels maintained throughout, BBC News reported.

Over the next 35 years, the oil and gas installations’ decommissioning in the UK sector of the North Sea is likely to cost £40bn.
The UK Continental Shelf comprises 113 oil platforms and 189 gas platforms, according to an estimate from Oil and Gas UK.