Scotland ‘can lead oil and gas decommissioning’

Scotland has a significant opportunity to lead the burgeoning oil and gas decommissioning industry. That’s according to Andrew Jones, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, who at the Offshore Europe industry conference […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Scotland has a significant opportunity to lead the burgeoning oil and gas decommissioning industry.

That’s according to Andrew Jones, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, who at the Offshore Europe industry conference has announced there is an opportunity for the UK and Scotland in particular to become a pioneer in this area.

Once operators finish extracting oil and gas from a field, they have to clean up and dismantle old oil rigs and pipelines – as more sites around the world reach the end of their lifespan, the market to close them down will expand.

The North Sea is one of the first regions in the world to start large-scale decommissioning, giving the UK a head start in terms of expertise and technology.

UK operators are expected to spend almost £60 billion on decommissioning between now and the 2050s, with more than 100 platforms needing to be scrapped and in excess of 1,800 oil wells to be plugged.

Mr Jones said: “The UK oil and gas industry supports 300,000 jobs and with up to 20 billion barrels of oil yet to recover, has many productive years ahead.

“As the need for decommissioning grows, we must seize the opportunity to cement the UK as a world leader in this field and export this knowledge globally.”