Sun 7 Feb, 2016

It would irresponsible, foolish and extremely short-sighted to let other countries seize the opportunities of decommissioning. Patrick Harvie MSP

Patrick Harvie, MSP and co-convenor of the Scottish Greens, has today argued that latest predictions of the scale and pace of future oil platform closures show an urgent need to accelerate efforts to secure decommissioning projects in the North Sea.

Harvie commented on estimates by Douglas-Westwood, which predict that more than half of the decommissioning work over the next 25 years is likely to take place between 2019 and 2026. According to the estimates, nearly 150 oil platforms in the UK North Sea are expected to be scrapped over the next 10 years.

The financial analysts said that this demand could put serious pressure on the supply chain, stating that “if the industry is well prepared, there will be a major opportunities and rewards for participation in the sector."

Another financial consultancy, Wood Mackenzie, reported on Friday that at recent prices, one in seven barrels of oil being produced in UK waters is at a cash loss.

The GMB union has called on the UK Government to ensure there are no delays in offshore decommissioning to help protect jobs in the supply chain.

A report commissioned by the Green MSPs last year showed that 200,000 new jobs could be created by investing in sectors such as decommissioning and clean energy as part of a transition to a more sustainable economy (3).

In January 2016, the Green MSPs led a Holyrood debate on the need to move away from Scotland’s over-reliance on fossil fuels, branding the current lack of a feasible transition plan ‘reckless’.

Patrick Harvie said:

“This analysis shows that we have no to time to waste if we want our workers and our economy to benefit from the drive to decommission North Sea rigs. Whether our Governments like it or not, the future of North Sea oil is more uncertain than ever, and thousands of people will lose their livelihoods unless we secure work in areas like decommissioning and renewables.

“Governments both in Westminster and here in Scotland like to pretend that by throwing subsidies into the North Sea, we can make the oil industry last forever. But while they sit around and hope for the best, valuable opportunities to take a leading position in the decommissioning sector are floating by.

"It would irresponsible, foolish and extremely short-sighted to let other countries seize the opportunities of decommissioning. The Scottish Government must urgently accelerate its efforts if we're going to secure jobs in the sector and make sure that Scotland is ready to bid for contracts.”

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