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Port of Cromarty Firth is first Scottish Port to apply for new decommissioning permits

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Oilfield Technology,

The Port of Cromarty Firth has become the first port to apply to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) for decommissioning permits under the updated regulations. This is part of their final preparations to attract these projects and the associated jobs to the area.

The Pollution Prevention Control (PPC) Regulations were updated in 2012 to provide the highest level of environmental protection. Under the guidelines laid out by the legislative process, the Port lodged two applications (one under PPC and a second under the Radioactive Substances Act) with SEPA earlier this month. It is anticipated the permits will be in place and the Port can begin welcoming decommissioning projects by September this year.

Consultation on the Port’s plans to bring decommissioning to the area began last August with Port users, local community councils and politicians. Local stakeholders have welcomed the opportunities associated with bringing this work to the area.

Public notices are being issued this week to begin the final consultation phase. Anyone who wishes to inspect the application can do so, free of charge, at SEPA, Dingwall Office, Fodderty Way, Dingwall Business Park, Dingwall, IV15 9XB from Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 4.30pm. Please quote reference number PPC/A/1157970.

Investment in a new quayside at the Port’s Invergordon Service Base means the port has three berths and 80,000 square metres of laydown space ready to accept decommissioning projects from the September deadline.

Its location, existing infrastructure and experienced supply chain give the port a significant advantage in this growing market. The Port has recently been recognised by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise as one of the main Scottish ports capable of carrying out decommissioning work.

The Cromarty Firth has a world-class supply chain experienced in rig repair and maintenance projects, meaning the skills are already in place to tackle the dismantling and recycling of the largest oil and gas structures.

“The Port is ideally located in the North Sea. Our status as a Trust Port, together with our proven environmental record, ensures platforms will be decommissioned in a way that meets the latest environmental standards,” says Port general manager Captain Calum Slater. “We are already in discussions with customers who have structures to decommission and I can see the first of the new era coming to the Firth next year.”

“Other ports are aligning to a single contractor, but we’re doing the opposite to provide customers more flexibility and choice. Our open port philosophy will allow any reputable client, operator or contractor to use the Port’s decommissioning licence. The Port will work with these companies to ensure that all dismantling activities at the Invergordon Service Base are carried out to the highest standard. The aim is to achieve the highest level of recycling and environmental protection. In accordance with our status as a Trust port, 100% of any profits will be reinvested in the Port’s future development for the benefit of our stakeholders.”

Roger Esson, Chief Executive of Decom North Sea, the decommissioning sector’s membership organisation, said: “Fundamental to a successful UK decommissioning sector is a supply chain which focuses on solutions and delivery models that can support and aid collaboration with operators to cost effectively manage their decommissioning activities.

“As the number of active decommissioning projects and plans submitted for regulatory approval increases, the Port’s recent application to SEPA reflects the importance of early regulator engagement, where clear communication of the requirements will result in the development of a cost-effective, safe and highly efficient decommissioning sector, where the opportunities are maximised.”

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