Ardersier, Stornoway ports take share of decommissioning cash pot

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Ports in the Highlands and Islands region have snapped up a share of the spoils from the Scottish Government’s new decommissioning funding-pot.

Stornoway Port Authority (SPA) has secured nearly £73,000 to support several projects it is undertaking at Arnish, including an environmental impact study.

And funding awarded to Ardersier, owned by Derbyshire-based CWC Group, will be used to carry out a study into possible quayside extensions and upgrades.

A total of £1.1million has been split between seven projects as part of the first round of the Decommissioning Challenge Fund (DCF).

Ports in Dundee, Methil, Montrose and Hunterston are also among the recipients.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched DCF in February to help pay for infrastructure upgrades which will help Scottish ports bring in more decommissioning work.

SPA chief executive Alex MacLeod said the cash injection marked the start of a two-year process to “gain the necessary consents to allow decommissioning works to be undertaken” in Stornoway.

CWC director Gordon Arthur said the company was grateful for the support and that it was “working hard to move things forward” at Ardersier.

Mr Arthur declined to say how much funding had been awarded to Ardersier.

The site had been owned by Port of Ardersier, but it went into administration in November 2015, paving the way for CWC to buy the site last year.

Port of Ardersier had hoped to create a renewables “super hub” at the site, but Mr Arthur has said that those plans would be difficult to put into motion.

CWC’s success in the DCF first round indicates that the site may have a brighter future in dismantling.

During a visit to SPA, Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “Our DCF is a clear signal to the market to think seriously about decommissioning – a market forecasted to be worth £17 billion by 2025 – and to plan and invest accordingly.

“In spite of the competition, Scotland has distinct advantages and assets that make it an attractive offer – and we are doing everything possible to stimulate investment and ensure our oil and gas sector remains competitive and attractive for decades to come.”

Nigel Lees, chairman of industry membership body Decom North Sea, said: “The funding agreed by the DCF in this first round makes an important contribution to Scotland’s growing onshore decommissioning capability.

“These grants support Scotland’s ports and harbours to build on their existing assets and prepare for increasing demand, complementing growing decommissioning capability across the UK.”