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Economy Economy

Create a multi-use yard and an ultra deep water port for the decommissioning industry

Last updated: 08:42pm 11 December 2019

We will work with the industry to create a multi-use yard and the UK’s first ultra-deep water port to support this industry.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.22

Our verdict

Decommissioning is the process of deactivating large industrial structures – like this North Sea gas platform – which have become unnecessary or uneconomical. In the oil and gas industry, this includes recovering materials and restoring the marine habitat. In support of this industry, the 2017 manifesto committed the government to creating a multi-use yard and the UK’s first ultra-deep water port.

Following this pledge, the Scottish government’s Programme for Government made a commitment to “build the case for an ultra-deep water (UDW) port in Scotland and made capital funding of £7.5m available to support this development for the decommissioning sector.”

Following a nationwide feasibility study by Ernst and Young, in September 2018, Scotland’s Energy Minister stated that they had identified Shetland as the optimal location for a large scale decommissioning site. He said:

“…investment in a deep water port will unlock the potential for Scotland to secure the largest decommissioning contracts…”

Dales Voe, Lerwick, was chosen as the best potential UK ultra-deep water port location. The project would create 300 jobs at Dales Voe, as well as costing £40 million to construct. In addition, as reported in Shetland News “the maintenance costs on an ultra-deep facility at Dales Voe could equate to around £200,000 a year over its 20-year operational lifespan.”

The feasibility study has been conducted and a location selected, but by the end of the government’s term of office, work was not under way on the building of the ultra-deep water port. In addition, the work to get this far appears to have been carried out by the Scottish government, not the UK government. For this reason, we consider this policy ‘not started’.

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