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Invergordon port bosses seek platform for oil and gas decommission work May 2017

A ROSS-SHIRE port is finalising moves to capitalise on the growth industry of dismantling defunct oil and gas platforms by becoming a base for decommissioning.

The Port of Cromarty Firth hopes this “new era” could begin as early as next year, bringing a fresh economic boost to the area.

The Invergordon-based authority is the first port to apply to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) for decommissioning permits under updated environmental regulations.

The port lodged two applications with Sepa earlier this month and it is anticipated the permits will be in place by September.

The consultation began in August and public notices for that process have been issued this week.

Investment in a new quayside at the port’s Invergordon Service Base means it has three berths and 80,000 square metres of lay down space ready to accept decommissioning projects.

The authority says its location and infrastructure, coupled with existing skills and a supply chain experienced in rig repairs, give the port a significant advantage in the growing market.

The port has recently been recognised by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise as one of the main Scottish ports capable of carrying out decommissioning work.

“The port is ideally located to the North Sea,” says port general manager Captain Calum Slater.

“Our status as a trust port, together with our proven environmental record, ensures platforms will be decommissioned in a way that meets the latest environmental standards.

“We are already in discussions with customers who have structures to decommission and I can see the first of the new era coming to the firth next year. Other ports are aligning to a single contractor, but we’re doing the opposite to provide customers more flexibility and choice. Our open port philosophy will allow any reputable client, operator or contractor to use the port’s decommissioning licence. The port will work with these companies to ensure that all dismantling activities at the Invergordon Service Base are carried out to the highest standard.

“The aim is to achieve the highest level of recycling and environmental protection.”

Roger Esson, chief executive of Decom North Sea, the decommissioning sector’s membership organisation, said: “Fundamental to a successful UK decommissioning sector is a supply chain which focuses on solutions and delivery models that can support and aid collaboration with operators to cost effectively manage their decommissioning activities.

“As the number of active decommissioning projects and plans submitted for regulatory approval increases, the port’s recent application to Sepa reflects the importance of early regulator engagement, where clear communication of the requirements will result in the development of a cost-effective, safe and highly efficient decommissioning sector, where the opportunities are maximised.”


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