Opportunities for new industry

Scottish ports unite in decommissioning push

Bob Buskie

Bob Buskie: ‘We are to ready handle this work’ (photo by Terry Murden)

Scotland’s ports are joining forces in an attempt break into the hugely competitive decommissioning industry.

Delegates from ports around the country attended a reception at the Scottish parliament where senior figures warned that Turkey and India were hoovering up much of the work on offer, including North Sea projects.

Bob Buskie, chief executive of the Port of Cromarty, told an audience of 90 industrialists and MSPs that this work could stay in Scotland.

Speaking to Daily Business, he said: “Ports in Scotland are ready to handle this work but a lot of it is going overseas.” The Port of Cromarty is tendering for two subsea structures.

He said his company was hosting the event to bring the key players together, and while the Scottish government had limited powers to intervene it was important to make the parliamentarians aware of the industry, its challenges and opportunities.

Business and Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse told guests: “There is an opportunity for Scotland to become a champion of decommissioning.”

Tom Leeson

Tom Leeson: challenged firms on their capability (photo by Terry Murden)

Bill Cattanach, head of the supply chain for the Oil & Gas Authority, said between now and 2025 there would be 165 decommissioning projects, presenting huge opportunities for Scottish ports.

“But it won’t just fall into our hands. We have to be aggressive to make sure we get it,” he said.

He listed the activities that spun off from decommissioning, including recycling, waste disposal, crane hire and scaffolding, all producing new sources of work.

Ports had to be competitive, provide a range of facilities and make sure they delivered what they promised, he said.

Tom Leeson, interim chief executive of the 400-member Decom North Sea, said his organisation had quizzed 1,000 companies about their ability to handle what is required.

Ian Sharp, chairman of Fairfield Energy, said: “This is a new industry, a different industry and it needs a different mindset.”

Darren Sutherland, a business development director at Borr Drilling, said the pace of scrappage was increasing and most was taking place in Turkey.

“There is an opportunity for yards in Scotland to pick up this work, but it is very competitive,” he said.

Ian Sharp

Ian Sharp: ‘a new industry requiring a different mindset’ (photo by Terry Murden)

The event was hosted by Port Of Cromarty in partnership with Decom North Sea, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and the Oil and Gas Authority.

Edward Mountain, who was the sponsoring MSP, said: ” Attracting so many influential people into one room, at one time, is a huge step towards their goal of a Decommissioning Working Group for Scotland.

“We need to do everything we can to tell the world that Scotland is ready for this kind of work. We have a hugely skilled workforce and supply chain already in place, so we should be doing everything we can to encourage decommissioning projects to come here.”

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