Energy Voice ran two articles last week highlighting onshore decommissioning plans for the Port of Dundee and Dales Voe. Once again this left me questioning where all this onshore decommissioning activity is going to coming from. Where is the business case that supports the large number of ports claiming decommissioning is a significant opportunity?
As the Oil and Gas Authority recently reported, onshore recycling and disposal activities make up just 2% of the overall total spend. The percentage breakdown of decommissioning spend is shown in this extract from the report.
The report also sets a target of a total decommissioning spend of £40billion over the next 30 years. If it is assumed that the spend is linear, that would equate to £27million per annum spend on onshore decommissioning. Spread that expenditure over the ports that are vying for decommissioning business – Aberdeen, Arnish, Cromarty, Dales Voe, Dundee, Fife, Kishorn, Lerwick, Lyness, Montrose, Nigg, Peterhead, Rosyth and Wick, not to mention Humberside, Tyneside and Teesside, and come up with a viable overall port business plan.
Whilst we should be fighting hard to ensure we maximise jobs and decommissioning business for Scotland and the UK, an integrated plan for our ports seems to be sadly lacking.
I would like to be proven wrong but as yet no one has come forward with a challenge to my analysis. In fact it has been the contrary.
If I am correct, is it not incumbent upon the Scottish Government, BEIS and the OGA to stop encouraging multiple port investment for a business that isn’t there?
Tom Baxter is a senior lecturer of chemical engineering at Aberdeen University
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