Sturgeon launches new £5m N. Sea decommissioning fund to boost Scots supply chain business

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (centre) at Sparrows Training Centre, with apprentices Leanne Brown and Adam Clark. Photo: Kami Thomson
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (centre) at Sparrows Training Centre, with apprentices Leanne Brown and Adam Clark. Photo: Kami Thomson

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has launched a new £5 million N. Sea decommissioning  fund at an industry event in Aberdeen.

The fund will provide opportunities for the supply chain in Scotland to benefit from the decommissioning of North Sea infrastructure.

The Decommissioning Challenge Fund will support infrastructure upgrades and innovation in salvage and transport methods at Scotland’s ports and harbours. It will also encourage engineering scoping work at key sites to build business cases that will attract further private investment.

Sturgeon launched the fund at Sparrows, a Grampian-based supply chain company that has just secured a contract to provide more than 100 cranes to Scottish Power.

The Scottish First Minister also visited Zilift Ltd, a specialist oil exploration technology company.

Sturgeon said: “With up to 20 billion barrels of oil and gas remaining, the Scot-Govt’s top priority remains to work with industry and stakeholders to Maximise Economic Recovery from the North Sea.  

“This new £5 million fund also recognises that decommissioning is an emerging, but growing, activity in the North Sea, with £17.6 billion expected to be spent in the field over the next decade.

“Scottish-based firms are already seizing opportunities, securing the lion’s share of value from a range of decommissioning activities, including project management of decommissioning programmes and high value well plugging and abandonment activity.

“Here at Sparrows, expertise developed in the oil and gas sector is being transferred to other energy and manufacturing sectors, and securing a major new contract is a significant milestone for the company.

“Meanwhile, news that Shell plans to begin decommissioning its Brent oil field underlines the importance of planning for decommissioning. The fund builds on our commitment to identify investment opportunities, with a view to improving capacity at Scottish ports, increasing the economic return to Scotland from a variety of removal, disposal and dismantling activities.”

  • Over the next 10 years in the North Sea, around 95 platforms and over 5,000 miles of pipelines are planned for decommissioning, along with the plugging of approximately 1,500 wells. The estimated spend over this period is predicted to be some £17.6 billion (in 2016 money).

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