OPINION: Decom giveaway laudable, but surely better to leave in place

Tom Baxter, senior lecturer in chemical engineering at Aberdeen University.
Tom Baxter, senior lecturer in chemical engineering at Aberdeen University.
Tom Baxter
Opinion by Tom BaxterSenior Lecturer, Chemical Engineering, Aberdeen University

I read with interest Energy Voice’s article “Shell hoping impact of decommissioning project will be felt far beyond Brent’.

I noted that the impact on the UK taxpayer was identified – this is encouraging because many of my critics have stated that the taxpayers’ position is not an issue since we are only giving back additional taxes paid in previous years by the oil and gas companies.

So thank you Shell for recognizing that the major decommissioning stakeholder has to be considered.

However, as a taxpayer, I would like to ask Mr Hope how many UK jobs were created in onshore dismantling and recycling.

Also, I would like to know what percentage of the Allseas contract benefitted the UK.

It is good that the project provided bedding to an animal charity, mattresses and furniture to people in need, and emergency Marks and Spencer tinned food supplies to food banks.

Whilst all very laudable, I would though like to know how much this cost the UK taxpayer? If we had left the installation in-situ, clean and inert and used the money saved to provide other societal, economic and environmental benefits, wouldn’t the impact have been better?

Furthermore, it is also good that local pupils got the opportunity to a look at ‘the great, rusting hulk of North Sea history’. Citizens of Dundee and other ports take note; you may be looking at a great rusting hulk.