Scotland is a “decade behind” in preparing for North Sea oil and gas decommissioning and risks losing out on millions of dollars of potential work, according to union chiefs.
They claim that the country is being left in the wake of other European ports which are already decomm-friendly and are on course to strip North Sea assets from British waters.
Examples include Maersk Oil’s Janice platform 175 miles east-south-east of Aberdeen and BP’s Miller installation 270km north east of the city.
Both decommissioning projects have seen contracts handed to Norwegian yards.
Italian firm Saipem, part owned by supermajor Eni, awarded a £20million contract to engineering firm Kværner for the Miller installation last week.
And Maersk announced that the Janice floating production installation would be scrapped in a Norwegian yard last year.
The GMB union claim that the lack of UK involvement in these projects show a “total failure” of both Westminster and Holyrood politicians to anchor the decomm industry in the UK at the start of what is likely to become a £40billion economy.
GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith said: “The total failure of the UK and Scottish governments on North Sea decommissioning is exposed once again while Norwegian yards and Italian energy firms are making millions in our own back yard.
“Miller was a goliath, producing over one hundred thousand barrels of oil a day at its peak. It ceased production in 2007, BP published the platform’s decommissioning programme in 2011 and the UK Government approved this plan in 2013.
“It’s not as if this could go unrecognised. Government understood this was happening and yet not a single job or penny earned from Miller’s decommissioning will go back into our economy – that’s a scandal.
“Instead Saipem’s ‘7000’ barge will ship the topsides and jackets to Kvaerner’s yard in Stord and deliver two years of decommissioning work with a value of around £20 million.
“Let’s be clear that this industry is off and running and this latest loss only demonstrates that Scotland is a decade behind on decommissioning and we need to wake up before we miss out completely.”
Scottish Conservative energy spokesman, Alexander Burnett, said it was “dissapointing” to see work going overseas.
He added: “We know that there are major opportunities in this emerging sector and that activity is steadily increasing. ”
“However, according to the most recent update from Oil and Gas UK, we are not yet seeing a headlong rush to break up North Sea assets.
“The priority remains to maximise recovery of the estimated 20billion barrels remaining in the UK Continental Shelf.
“While that remains the focus, there are issues to address around the capacity for decommissioning work in Scotland. That is why investment in the Aberdeen Harbour expansion will be so important in the years to come.”
The Scottish Government refuted the claim. Read more here.