The enormous potential of the oil and gas rig decommissioning business for the Shetland economy has become increasingly clear over the last two years, more so since the arrival of enormous Frigg platform to be disposed of in Lerwick last year.
This month Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s Lerwick office is hosting a special event for local companies to meet the major players involved in this burgeoning industry and gain an understanding of what the future prospects are.
Shetland has long recognised it could become the most competitive place in the UK to decommission North Sea oil and gas platforms which have reached the end of their useful life.
A Meet the Buyer event two years ago saw over 60 people from local firms meet up with Aker Kvaerner, SBS Logistics, Veolia Environmental Services and local funding agencies to talk about the local opportunities in this new sector.
Later that year the Shetland Decommissioning Company joined with these firms to win the contract to break down part of the 8,800 tonne module support frame from Total’s Frigg field at Lerwick’s Greenhead Base.
This contract has already had spin offs for local firms. With the possibility of even more work coming Shetland’s way, HIE felt the time was right for another opportunity to meet with the major operators in the field.
The HIE event takes place from 2-5pm on 30 April, at SBS Logistics, Greenhead Base, Gremista, Lerwick. Anyone attending will be shown around the Lerwick decommissioning facilities and meet the main companies currently involved, make connections, sell services, and see where there is potential to become involved in the future.
The event follows a visit by a delegation from Shetland to Aker Kvaerner’s decommissioning site, at Norway’s largest wharf south of Leirvik, on the island of Stord.
The visit showed that 50 per cent of all decommissioning activity goes to local businesses. Stord has a dedicated industrial estate for local companies to base their decommissioning operations, with 350 people employed by 29 firms.
The local college has developed an engineering course geared specifically to decommissioning, and has said it is willing to train engineers from Shetland in this specialist field.
Plans are also afoot to build a second quayside to handle the growing amount of decommissioning work expected over the next few years, with such a development likely to be necessary in Lerwick if it grasps the potential on offer.
Since the Meet the Buyer event in May 2006 many businesses have asked for a follow up session on future opportunities.
The 30 April event provides a chance for an update on future possibilities. Numbers are limited to 40 people so anyone interested should contact Rachael Hume on 01595 693177.