Aberdeen Harbour has “hidden” its decommissioning credentials for too long and needs to raise its profile in the sector to secure a bigger share of the market, one of its bosses said yesterday.
Marlene Mitchell, commercial manager and decommissioning expert at Aberdeen Harbour Board (AHB), pointed to nearly two decades of largely unsung dismantling experience at the port.
She also highlighted the prospect of many new opportunities opening up from AHB’s ongoing £350 million-plus expansion project, which is expected to herald the arrival of bigger vessels and much larger decommissioning projects.
Ms Mitchell was speaking ahead of her participation in the Oil and Gas UK Offshore Decommissioning Conference. The online event, which has attracted more than 1,000 virtual delegates, got under way yesterday and ends today.
In today’s session on “decommissioning in practice – delivering value”, Ms Mitchell will say there is now a “window of opportunity” to make sure the harbour maximises the potential of one of the biggest current port expansion projects in Europe.
“Decommissioning has been almost a hidden activity here for many years and we need to make sure people know we’ve been doing it,” she said yesterday.
She added: “Historically we’ve been very quiet about our decommissioning activity but there is a step change taking place, where we’re talking to tier one (service) companies and the operator community, and overall being much more focused.”
Aberdeen in general is already well-equipped to secure more decommissioning work, thanks to “the best supply chain bar none” and organisations such as the Oil and Gas Technology Centre and National Decommissioning Centre being “on the doorstep”, she said.
The city’s harbour handles small and medium-sized oil and gas decommissioning projects, involving infrastructure such as risers, umbilicals, pieces of pipeline and subsea bundles.
New facilities taking shape to make the port “bigger and better” will deliver greater flexibility and scope for much larger jobs, Ms Mitchell said.
The Offshore Decommissioning Conference comes just a week after the UK Government published its 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution.
Ms Mitchell said: “It sets out how the transformation of our energy system will drive economic growth and jobs, while reducing emissions – something that all the delegates have been doing quietly and in collaboration for many years.
“Aberdeen Harbour is committed to early involvement in the energy transition space and how we can support all sectors, including decommissioning in a lower carbon future.
“There are short-term easy wins that we are directly and indirectly engaging in today, in the form of alternative power sources and vessel fuels.
“But we are also working closely with a number of agencies and the wider supply chain to understand how we can drive solutions in future decommissioning activity.
“The ‘decommissioning in practice’ session will be very interesting because we have a direct commercial impact on projects, so understanding how we can all come together to drive greater value will be crucial for us.”