Stornoway Port Authority has been chosen as one of the first recipients for a funding award from the Scottish Government’s Decommissioning Challenge Fund.

The SPA has been offered nearly £73,000 to support several projects it is undertaking at Arnish.

And the award is one of only seven projects in total across Scotland which have been offered a share of a £1.1 million tranche of funding.

The DCF was announced by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in February 2017.  It is a £5 million fund, for 2017-2018, providing opportunities for the supply chain in Scotland to benefit from the decommissioning of North Sea infrastructure.

The DCF will support infrastructure upgrades and innovation in retrieval and transportation methods at ports and harbours.  It will also encourage engineering scoping work at key sites to build business cases and feasibility studies that will help to attract private investment. The DCF will align with and support cost reduction efforts related to retrieval and disposal activities, with the aim of enhancing the Scottish onshore decommissioning market. 

SPA chief executive Alex MacLeod said: “We welcome this support from the Scottish Government and the Decommissioning Challenge Fund.

“This funding will go towards vital projects that will ultimately help us to maximise the potential industries and opportunities available for the Arnish and Deep Water Port areas.  This is the start of a two-year process to gain the necessary consents to allow decommissioning works to be undertaken.

The awarded funding will support work on an Environmental Impact Assessment covering the existing Arnish site and the proposed Deep Water development; a berth-in/berth-out engineering assessment; and a local recycling options investigation.

Mr MacLeod continued: “We were pleased to welcome the Economy Secretary Keith Brown to Stornoway ahead of the funding announcement and he showed great interest in our aspirations as well as engaging with our plans.

“We are also grateful to our partners, including Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and the Stornoway Trust, for their support as we work together in bringing more opportunities to the local economy.”

The application from SPA to the Decommissioning Challenge Fund (DCF) offered a clear fit with strategic aspirations at a local and national level.

Enhancing the capabilities of the Arnish Enterprise Area is part of the delivery of a wider £50m Stornoway Port Masterplan which identifies decommissioning as an area of market opportunity for the port.

During his visit to Stornoway Port Authority, Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “Companies across the supply chain are actively engaged in decommissioning projects, with Scottish-based firms having secured more than half of the value of contracts awarded.

“Our Decommissioning Challenge Fund is a clear signal to the market to think seriously about decommissioning – a market forecast to be worth £17 billion by 2025 - and to plan and invest accordingly.”

He added: “Scotland has distinct advantages and assets that make it an attractive offer – and we are doing everything possible to stimulate investment and ensure our oil and gas sector remains competitive and attractive for decades to come.”