Kishorn Port Limited (KPL) has submitted plans to extend its drydock for decommissioning of oil and gas FPSO vessels.
The port has applied to Highland Council saying it has had “a number of inquiries from companies” on decommissioning floating production storage and offloading vessels (FPSOs).
Kishorn, which was redeveloped in 2017, is currently being used as a temporary mooring site for the Voyageur Spirit and Petrojarl Banff FPSOs.
KPL proposes a construction project, lasting up to 12 months, to extend the 160m drydock in order to accommodate FPSOs for decom, which are typically 200-250m long, KPL said in planning documents.
During this time “jobs will be created” Kishorn Port said, and the extension will “continue to provide socio-economic benefit to Lochcarron and the wider highland economy”.
KPL’s directors have been contacted for further details.
The port is also seeking an update to its planning consent, which currently excludes shipbreaking activities, so it can be added to a list of EU-approved ship recycling sites.
Presently there is just one Scottish port approved for this, of four in the UK, compared to a Europe-wide total of 34, it said.
Therefore it is “vital that the decommissioning opportunities arising are made accessible to the port by their inclusion” on the EU list.
The document said it will have a positive impact to the economy “in terms of jobs, direct and indirect spending and to the wider GDP”.
In July, KPL hosted decommissioning work on the MV Kaami, a Norwegian cargo vessel which ran aground off Scotland’s west coast.
The work was allowed to be carried out at Kishorn as an “emergency relaxation” of the rules, but KPL said it shows the port’s “capabilities to decommission vessels of any sort in a safe manner”.
The Kishorn drydocks, first used as a construction site for oil and gas vessels during the 1970s oil boom, “provides the ideal location to decommission the structures it was originally developed to construct”, KPL said.
Another factor is KPL hoping to bring in more sources of work for the port, which has ambitions to being a construction site for offshore wind projects.
However, the Scottish wind sector has been “slow to develop” meaning “Kishorn Port has not developed at the pace that might have been hoped” so far, KPL said.
Despite this, the port has seen a wave of success in recent months, with high-profile contracts such as hosting the Ocean GreatWhite, the world’s largest semi-submerisble rig, for refurbishment in 2019.
This year, the Voyageur Spirit, which was the FPSO for the Premier Oil Huntington field, arrived in July for temporary morring, followed by the Petrojarl Banff, which served the CNR International Banff and Kyle fields.
Altera Infrastructure, recently rebranded from Teekay Offshore, owns the Voyageur Spirit. The Banff is owned by Teekay Group.
KPL, a joint-venture of Ferguson Transport and quarry firm Leiths, secured permission for the redevelopment of the port in 2013, and has promoted its capacity for oil and gas and renewables projects.
With the backing of the Scottish Government’s Decommissioning Challenge Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the firm carried out a £450,000 project in 2017 to restore the dry dock to full working order.