“When you see an asset on the back of a ship, it’s too late.”
Fife firms are being encouraged to act now to become part of a decommissioning project coming to Methil.
CessCon Decom announced this month Energy Park Fife will welcome exploration and production firm Spirit Energy’s DP3 and DP4 platforms this year.
The project is expected to create between 30 and 50 new jobs.
Building a supply chain
Will Rowley, interim managing director of Decom North Sea, said the time was now for local firms to get involved.
He warned that in other areas local firms have been slow to express interest in projects, leading to the opportunities to pass by.
He said: “I’ve seen projects in the UK and elsewhere in the world where the supply chain hasn’t really engaged.
“That is until another company is brought in from another area or another country. Then they’ve all shouted and screamed.
“When you see an asset on the back of a ship, it’s too late – things are often planned 12 to 15 months in advance.”
Free advice from Decom North Sea
Decom North Sea assisted Scottish firms to access opportunities in Brunei at the end of last year.
It led the membership organisation to think it should do something similar for the CessCon project.
The group is looking to improve awareness of the decom sector and also act as a matchmaker to put Fife firms in touch with the right people.
“We felt there was a gap about whether people know decom is for them or not,” Mr Rowley said.
“People might know it means you are dismantling things but it’s providing that extra layer of detail.
“Things like what is the typical hierarchy on a project. This is who you need to be talking to and when.
“We’ve already identified internally a pool of people in the local area we can connect people with to talk about the practicalities.
“Typically, decom projects are around 80-90% fairly conventional activities – cutting, logistics, catering, providing tools, day-to-day services. There is only a little sliver that’s highly specialised.
“Don’t wait for the project to come and then think, ‘I wish I’d got involved’.”
Attracting more work to Fife
The interim managing director said there was good potential for Fife to build up a network of supply chain firms.
He said this would encourage more projects to Energy Park Fife.
But Kingdom firms should also be thinking about gaining experience to tender for work in other areas, Mr Rowley said.
“What we are keen is for companies to not think this is a one-off opportunity,” he added.
“We want them to realise that they could be bidding on projects in other areas.
“You may be creating a position for yourself that you can leverage no matter where it is in the UK.
“This is a reasonable size project, middling in terms of size and technical requirement, but that’s a good place to start with.
“It means that it’s not going to be too heavy weighted to people with real specialisms or larger companies.
“CessCon are members of Decom North Sea and want to have as much local impact as possible.
“But it’s a two-way street. It relies on business engaging with them and their partners.
“That’s where we think we can help to give people an improved understanding.
“We also want to make some of our resources, which we normally charge for, free for companies in Fife.”
Mr Rowley said Fife firms with an interest in learning more, should call Decom North Sea and say, “I’m from Fife”.