Businesses were last night urged to “grasp the opportunity” available from decommissioning North Sea oil and gas platforms.
The challenge was issued as about 90 industry representatives and politicians gathered at the Scottish Parliament for a reception hosted by north MSP Edward Mountain, the Port of Cromarty Firth and other bodies.
Port chief executive Bob Buskie described the Cromarty Firth as “probably one of the best natural assets that Scotland has”, but he was anxious seven or eight of platforms were leaving the firth to be decommissioned in Turkey and elsewhere.
“It’s extremely frustrating for myself because we believe these assets could have stayed in the firth and helped create jobs and sustain the local economy there,” he said.
“But we seem to be lacking entrepreneurs to look at this as an opportunity and address it in way that we can actually retain these assets in the firth.”
Mr Mountain, Conservative MSP for the Highlands and islands, echoed the view, saying: “We have an opportunity and frankly we need to grasp it.
“Oil is not going to last forever, but we have another chance to extend to what it can give to Scotland and the UK and our successors won’t thank us if we fail to grasp it.”
Bill Cattanach, head of supply chain at the Oil and Gas Authority, said it would be a “travesty” if the opportunity was lost and urged firms to be competitive.
Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Our challenge to you as a sector is to help make Scotland the centre of excellence for North Sea decommissioning.”