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Decommissioning fund backing

Support for North Sea projects amid industry pleas

Paul Wheelhouse decommssion

Paul Wheelhouse addressing a decommissioning session (photo by Terry Murden)

Six decommissioning projects across Scotland are being offered a share of £1.5 million amid calls for more government backing for UK operators.

Grant offers in the second round of the Decommissioning Challenge Fund have been made to projects in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Kishorn, Shetland and Orkney.

The Scottish Government’s Decommissioning Challenge Fund supports infrastructure improvements and innovation to deliver decommissioning of North Sea oil and gas infrastructure.

Projects in this round include innovation in well plugging and abandonment, dry dock upgrades, quayside strengthening investigation and two specialist decommissioning equipment projects in Shetland.

During a visit to Dales Marine at the Imperial Dry Dock in Leith Docks– one of the projects to receive a grant offer – Minister for Business Paul Wheelhouse, said: “Decommissioning offers a variety of opportunities for Scottish based firms, such as Dales Marine, right across the supply chain.

“I am delighted to contribute to this ambitious project to upgrade the Imperial Dry Dock in Leith, which will ensure the future of this historically significant site for vessel decommissioning, keeping skilled jobs within our economy.

“Our Decommissioning Challenge Fund is a clear signal to the market to think seriously about decommissioning – a market that is forecast to be worth up to £17 billion over the period to 2025 – and to plan and invest accordingly.”

The awards follow a presentation in parliament before Christmas by a number of ports and associated organisations 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.

Mr Wheelhouse addressed that session, telling guests: “There is an opportunity for Scotland to become a champion of decommissioning.”

Scotland’s new Energy Strategy, launched in December, noted that decommissioning offers significant economic opportunities, and commits to enhance the capabilities and capacity in Scotland.

Alongside the Decommissioning Action Plan – launched by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise in 2016 – the Fund aims to help Scotland’s oil and gas sector make the most of decommissioning opportunities at home and abroad.

A DCF Programme Board, drawn from government and industry, and chaired by the Director for Energy & Climate Change, is overseeing the delivery of the fund.

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