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Plans to scrap oil rigs in Stornoway have received a boost with a near £75,000 grant for a study into building a new deep water harbour to handle the giant structures.

 

Stornoway receives one of the first awards from the Scottish Government’s Decommissioning Challenge Fund which sees seven projects across Scotland offered a share of £1.1 million.

 

The grant will help pay for an environmental assessment - required for planning permission and obtaining a decommissioning licence.

 

Stornoway harbour also has  wider plans to develop a back-up ferry pier, berth for bigger cruise ships plus developing an base for oil, gas and marine renewables.

 

Economy Secretary Keith Brown was briefed on the proposals on a visit to the port.

 

Mr Brown said today’s grant would progress the harbour redevelopment and help it “tap into decommissioning opportunities”  so Stornoway will be well placed to “take advantage when the time comes.”

 

“Many of the fields in the North Sea are of that age when you are going to see decommissioning coming forward in the next few years,” he added.

 

Rather than export the work it should create jobs in Scotland and in the islands, he said.

 

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

 

“In spite of the competition, 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.”

 

Alex Macleod, chief executive of Stornoway Port Authority, said branching out into decommissioning work would help the port diversify, create local jobs and boost the island economy.

 

He highlighted the port “needs to diversify into as many industries as possible, including decommissioning, which would have “huge“ positive impacts for the local economy.

 

The harbour board will be “working more with the tenants at Arnish and with HIE to achieved additional capabilities at that site.”

 

 

 

Oil rig decommissioning grant for Stornoway harbour

29 November 2017

Economy Secretary Keith Brown and Alex Macleod of Stornoway Port Authority discuss the plans