The future is looking positive for Sullom Voe terminal, with a projected life until 2050.
Speaking at a meeting of the harbour board, infrastructure chief Maggie Sandison said that she and council convener Malcolm Bell had met the BP chief executive and senior management in London last week, and now a “much better understanding” existed between the two sides.
Mrs Sandison said it was clear that BP had a long-term commitment to the terminal, which was part of BP’s “strategic planning” up to 2050. The meeting had been “extremely positive”, she said, BP was committed to working closely with the council.
The fears that Shetland had been frozen out of recent talks about Quad 4 and Schiehallion were unfounded, it turned out, as different parts of BP, such as the exploration and terminals, did not communicate.
The Clair field west of Shetland was coming on stream and replacing the North Sea business, Mrs Sandison said, and in an effort to extend the life of the east of Shetland operations, charges were being lowered for this business, while charges were being increased for west of Shetland.
However, for the first time ever, Sullom Voe harbour is facing a loss and tanker charges will have to rise sharply.
Mrs Sandison said the projected loss in March next year would be £1.3 million, due to the fall in oil price and fewer tankers using the terminal.
The harbour was in a “state of flux” and the losses would have to be built into next year’s harbour dues, which is likely to mean harbour dues being increased by “more than 50 per cent”.