Council’s Total land deal set to be revealed as lawyers put finishing touches to lease

Total’s deal with Shetland Islands Council to use land for its £500 million gas plant next to Sullom Voe is to be made public once the detail is finalised later this month.

Councillors heard from lawyers in private on Tuesday morning that the current negotiations for acquiring land for up to 70 years were nearing completion.

Although the broad principles were agreed by the council on 18th March much of the detail involved with health and safety and environmental protection have taken until now to finalise.

Work is already under way on the Total project at Sullom Voe which will see gas coming ashore from the Laggan-Tormore field from 2014. Potentially a host of other new gas discoveries could join into the pipeline later as Britain seeks to exploit its untapped west of Shetland resources.

Depute SIC chief executive Hazel Sutherland told members the lease should be ready to be signed off quite soon and registered in the Registers of Scotland, which will make it available for scrutiny as a public document.

Convener Sandy Cluness has already said he expected the Shetland economy to benefit from income of around £200 million during the first 30 years of the gas plant and he told the meeting it could last 70 years or longer “as long as the gas comes ashore”.

Mr Cluness paid tribute to the council’s negotiating team which had met regularly over the past months. “Without their energy and expertise we wouldn’t have been able to move this deal along,” he said.

The council wanted to recognise publicly the efforts of its team, Mr Cluness said, particularly head of finance Graham Johnston, head of economic development Neil Grant and the principal council contact Paul Wishart. Janet Barclay of the planning service was also praised for her hard work dealing with Total’s planning application.


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