Forth Ports Ltd – the harbours to property-development company – is to invest more than £10 million in the port of Dundee to create a new quayside with an industry-leading “heavy lift” capability, coupled with a significant onshore operational area.
This will position the Port of Dundee at the forefront of the North Sea oil & gas decommissioning and offshore wind sectors.
Having missed out on the North Sea oil and gas investment boom in the 1970s to Aberdeen, Dundee councillors will also appreciate the irony of a renewable energy wind-ustry boost for the city.
The privately funded investment will result in the development of the quayside at the East end of the port, connecting to the existing Prince Charles Wharf. The quayside will offer heavy lift capability over its entire 200m length with an ultra-heavy lift pad at one end.
The construction process will take 18 months to complete with work starting immediately.
This capability, coupled with a deep-water berth and significant land area of around 60 acres, will facilitate the handling of the largest cargoes, as demanded by these emerging North Sea industry sectors.
The quayside will effectively add both berthing and land capacity at the Port of Dundee and, once complete, will represent a significant increase in port capacity in North East Scotland
Upon completion, the quayside will be 200 metres longer than currently and will be one of the strongest quaysides in Scotland, at a strength capability of 80 tonnes per square metre.
The strengthened quayside will be equipped to handle marine projects – such as offshore anchor and chain servicing – and offshore wind-turbine assembly and deployment activities, as well as operations and maintenance, for which the Port of Dundee is ideally placed due to its proximity to the proposed offshore wind farm developments in the Forth and Tay Estuaries.
Scottish Ministers have granted planning permission for over 4000MW of offshore wind capacity, with projects adjacent to Dundee in the Forth and Tay rivers’ estuaries – Neart Na Gaoithe, Inch Cape Offshore Limited, Seagreen Alpha and Seagreen Bravo – capable of generating up to 2284 MW of electricity
Neart na Gaoithe is a 450MW offshore wind farm proposed for the Outer Forth Estuary in the North Sea. In October 2014 Scottish Ministers awarded the development offshore planning consent and this decision is the subject of a judicial review currently under consideration by the Scottish courts
It is anticipated that the quayside would also enable Dundee to benefit from emerging £50 billion North Sea oil & gas decommissioning market.
Charles Hammond, Chief Executive, Forth Ports, explained: “This is an important investment for the Port of Dundee – which is ideally placed to service the needs of North Sea oil & gas, decommissioning and Scotland’s offshore wind sector over the coming years.
“Dundee’s existing skills base and location, combined with its riverside berths, deep water and rock river bed, put the port in a key position to become a hub for these sectors for construction, operations and maintenance and for decommissioning.
“Our investment also puts Dundee in a position to benefit from offshore renewable projects such as Neart na Gaoithe, which has the potential to deliver cost efficient renewable energy and economic benefits for Dundee.”
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing commented: “This announcement puts Dundee, Tayside and Fife a strong position to maximise the enormous economic benefits that offshore wind and decommissioning can deliver for Scotland.
“When I met Forth Ports in Dundee to discuss their potential plans for the future, it was clear this major development can open the region to business opportunities in new markets – not to mention the inevitable jobs boost that a project of this size will deliver.
“I congratulate and thank Forth Ports for their commitment to Dundee and to Scotland. I look forward to working with them closely to maximise the benefits it can bring over decades to come.
“Scotland can play a leading role in the development of the decommissioning market and we will continue to work with partners such as Decom North Sea, the Oil and Gas Authority and operators to secure opportunities for the supply chain.
“While infrastructure such as this will equip Scotland for any decommissioning opportunities that will emerge, our first aim must be to avoid premature cessation of production in the North Sea.
“While some decommissioning activity is to be expected over the next decade, there are still substantial reserves to be recovered in the North Sea. As someone in the industry put it to me the other week; the (oil) industry can have a second wind!
“The Scottish Government and its agencies engage regularly with our numerous ports and harbours across the country to understand their capabilities and identify any assistance we can offer to take advantage of the opportunities arising from the energy sector. We will also continue to work hard to attract interest from potential inward investors, to Dundee and the rest Scotland, from the global energy industry.”