By LOUISE THOMASON
A MEETING to discuss the future of decommissioning in Shetland was held this week.
A steering group, led by representatives of local company Peterson SBS and hosted by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, came to Shetland to discuss the proposed decommissioning development plan.
This was the third meeting of the group, made up of the principal oil companies and interested parties from across Scotland. The aim was to discuss a way forward for the industry, looking at improving development and ways in which government funding can help overcome barriers.
With over 30 years experience in the oil industry, Lerwick is deemed one of the best locations in Scotland for decommissioning, a market which the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) values in the region of £19 billion.
The arrival last year of the Total TCP2 module support frame as part of the multi-million pound contract awarded to Peterson SBS and Midlands company Veolia Environmental Services was heralded as the beginning of what could be a very lucrative series of projects for Shetland.
HIE Shetland’s head of transformational projects Katrina Wiseman said that decomissioning would offer exciting prospects for the islands.
She said: “There are a number of companies that can benefit from work in this relatively new industry, as well as an opportunity for new businesses to locate to the islands. The decommissioning industry can provide work and employment at a time when traditional industries and the oil industry are facing decline. “Peterson SBS operates in a key sector with high growth potential and global investment opportunities, and it is keen to grow its business in Shetland, bringing significant benefits to the local economy.”
Speaking after the meeting, Mrs Wiseman said it had gone well and was “very productive”. She said there were several things to be followed up including formulating a supply chain database and encouraging the involvement of the public sector in the industry.
The group was said to have been very impressed with the Shetland sites and local suppliers.
Peterson SBS director and chairman of Shetland Decommissioning Consortium Murdo MacIver said the prospects for the industry in Shetland were very good.
He said: “Around 40 per cent of the 500 existing offshore North Sea oil and gas installations will be considered for decommissioning in the next 20 or 30 years which presents a fantastic opportunity for us and our partners. We are gearing up now to meet the challenge of removing and deconstructing the wide variety of structures in the North Sea.”
Mr MacIver said he felt the meeting was a huge success and that it offered a great opportunity to showcase the abilities that Shetland has to offer.
The discussions are set to continue. The next meeting will take place in Bergen in the New Year to coincide with annual decommissioning debates.