Oil and gas rig decommissioning work will be making a “material” contribution to the economy of Tayside and Fife within five years, it has been predicted.
Dundeecom chief executive Callum Falconer said the combination of a £10 million upgrading of Prince Charles Wharf at the Port of Dundee and the permanent addition of a new heavy lift dockside crane – the largest of its kind anywhere in Europe – means Dundee is becoming an attractive location for the multi-billion pound sector.
And he says he hopes a “major player” will be attracted to the city within the year.
Mr Falconer was speaking as a new rig arrived at the Port of Dundee, taking the current complement to a record total of five.
Mr Falconer was brought in earlier this year to head up the Dundeecom task force, designed to bring a significant slice of the decommissioning cake to Tayside and Fife.
Industry body Oil and Gas UK last year estimated the size of the decom prize at £17.6 billion over the next decade and, with more than 400 installations in the North Sea to be removed, work from the domestic basin is expected to continue for at least a generation to come.
The new Dundee quayside facilities are expected to be in place by the end of this year and Mr Falconer said they will give the city better facilities than Able UK in Hartlepool.
The Teesside yard is handling the decommissioning of the 24,000-tonne topside of the Brent Delta platform.
“Is Dundee capable of doing that business? The answer is absolutely yes,” Mr Falconer said. “The Port of Dundee when it is finished will have at least as much capability as Hartlepool.”
Mr Falconer said Dundee has the skilled labour force, infrastructure and the right attitude to become a major hub for the sector and he is confident conversations happening now will bear fruit. However, he was reluctant to put a figure on the number of jobs he hopes will materialise.
“I have a significant network and I have been using that network to discuss the capability of Dundeecom with major players in decommissioning,” Mr Falconer said. “We have certainly turned their heads and I am hoping that head turning will turn into material business in due course.
“Once we have got one of the big players, that will inevitably attract the rest of the breakdown sector into the city and that is where jobs will be created for the community and for the benefit of the city.
“If we bring a major player into the port and we bring in the ancillary second and third tier supply chain, then material jobs will be created.”
Mr Falconer said his intention was to sign up a “major player” to come to Dundee before the end of this year, in expectation that the first major decom project would arrive in 2019.
“Forth Ports, Dundee City Council, DC Thomson and stakeholders are doing everything they possibly can to enable the decom industry in this city,” Mr Falconer added.