Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Aberdeen Harbour “turning vessels away” risks city’s decline

An oil rig waiting outside the harbour in Aberdeen.
An oil rig waiting outside the harbour in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen faces becoming a city in decline if its port continues to turn away vessels because it is too small to accommodate them, according to a senior Aberdeen Harbour executive.

Chris Bain, external relations director at Aberdeen Harbour Board, told an audience which included many of city business leaders that unless the proposed harbour extension at Nigg Bay goes ahead, the Granite City risked falling into decline and would miss out on maximising its share of the multi-billion pound decommissioning market, which is expected to deliver decades of work to the hard-pressed oil and gas supply chain.

She said Nigg was key to Aberdeen’s ability to compete with larger, deep water ports in Northern England and Norway, which are eyeing the prize of decommissioning projects to come as operators begin the process of dismantling and removing more than 200 North Sea platforms and associated infrastructure in coming years.

The Nigg project, estimated to cost as much as £415million, will deliver a harbour with longer quaysides and a 10-metre water depth, capable of accommodating the ever-larger vessels being used to carry out North Sea operations, which she described as a “game changer” for the port.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting organised by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Bain said she didn’t believe Aberdeen was competing with local deep water ports such as Peterhead, Montrose and even Lerwick, saying she believed there was ample work to support them all. She said it was English and overseas ports that were set to snap up decommissioning work that could come to Aberdeen.

“Despite the current downturn, we are still turning away vessels. If Aberdeen is to fully support the larger subsea vessels associated with decommissioning, anchoring this activity in the north east of Scotland, increased long, deep water berthage is urgently required.”

Bain: “It’s about us being technically relevant. The fact we’re at this point still turning vessels away because we don’t have enough deep water quays to bring them in, that’s just crazy. We’re cutting off our nose to spite our face.

“We’re talking about up to 10 meteres in terms of water depth and that is a game changer in terms of the kind of vessels we are able to bring in.”

“In terms of jobs, the existing harbour indirectly supports about 12,00jobs. An independent study by Scottish Enterprise indicated that if we were to go ahead with the project in 20 years time we’d be looking at 15,000 jobs. Whereas if we were not to go ahead, it would drop down to 8,000 jobs in a 20 year time slot.

“So the impact is major in terms of the knock-on effect on activity the harbour represents.”

Bain said that AHB was not putting all its eggs in the decommissioning basket however, saying a new port would also attract greater numbers of larger cruise ships which would boost tourism across the entire region.

She said the Nigg project was an “incredible opportunity for the city”.

“The question is: What happens if we don’t do this? We don’t like using the phrase, but really we are talking about managing decline. It really is about the next step for Aberdeen and for the Shire.”

Chamber chief executive Russell Borthwick said: “Decommissioning is not a dirty word. We need to focus, not on subsea or topside, but on the upsides.”

Earlier this week, the chairman of industry body Decom North Sea, said he believed the decommissioning could be worth as much as $100billion.

Recommended for you

More from Energy Voice

Latest Posts