North Sea Decommissioning Fund Launched

A £5 million fund to support infrastructure for breakbulk operators decommissioning oil platforms in the North Sea has been launched by the Scottish government.

The Decommissioning Challenge Fund (DCF) will support “infrastructure upgrades and innovation” designed to improve salvage and transport of breakbullk via Scotland’s ports and harbors. The government expects it will also encourage renewed engineering, procurement and construction work at key sites, attracting further private investment.

The new £5 million fund also recognizes that decommissioning is an emerging, but growing, activity in the North Sea, with £17.6 billion expected to be spent in the North Sea over the next decade,” said Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish first minister, adding that project management of decommissioning programs, abandonment activity and “high-value well plugging” were all likely to be of growing importance.

The launch of the fund follows news that oil major Shell has begun decommissioning its Brent oil field. The Dutch firm’s large asset base in the Brent field are likely to drive significant new business for North Sea breakbulk carriers.

“News today that Shell plans to apply to begin decommissioning its Brent oil field underlines the importance of planning for decommissioning. The fund builds on our Programme for Government commitment to identify investment opportunities, with a view to improving capacity at Scottish ports, increasing the economic return to Scotland from a variety of removal, disposal and dismantling activities,” Sturgeon added.

Photo: North Sea decommissioning is expected to be a growth sector. Credit: Wikimedia

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