Port of Cromarty Firth is the first port in Scotland to be granted new decommissioning permit

The Port of Cromarty Firth is the first port in Scotland to be granted a decommissioning Pollution Prevention Control Permit by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) under the latest environment legislation. This permit is part of the Port’s preparations to attract decommissioning projects and the associated jobs to the Highlands. 

The Pollution Prevention Control Regulations were updated in 2013 to ensure that emissions to air, water (including discharges to sewer) and land, plus a range of other environmental effects, must be considered together. 

This environmental protection permit covers almost the whole of the Port-owned Invergordon Service Base; around 600m of quayside and 80,000 sqm of laydown area. It allows for the processing of 50,000 tonnes of waste material per year.

The location, (within easy reach of the Central and Northern North Sea,) waters up to 50m deep, existing infrastructure, and experienced supply chain give the Port of Cromarty Firth a significant advantage in this growing market.  A recent report by ALE confirmed the Port’s ability to take structures up to 12,000 tonnes across its quayside and it has recently been recognised by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise as one of the main Scottish ports capable of carrying out decommissioning work. 

The Port has undertaken decommissioning projects in the past, including two semi-submersible rigs, subsea manifolds, and renewable energy devices, before the environmental regulations changed in 2013.

The Cromarty Firth has a world-class supply chain experienced in rig repair and maintenance projects.  Both established and new alliances mean contractors in demolition, waste management and NORM decontamination are already in place to tackle the dismantling and recycling of the largest oil and gas structures. 

Bob Buskie, CEO of the Port of Cromarty Firth, said:

“This permit is held by the Port, so companies looking to decommission their assets can either benefit from a turnkey solution using the Port’s consortium of specialist companies, or they can appoint their own preferred supplier to come and work on the Service Base. We are the first Port to offer this open port philosophy and allow any reputable client, operator or contractor to use the Port’s decommissioning permit. 

Most other ports are aligning with a single contractor, but we’re doing the opposite to provide customers with more flexibility and choice. The Port will work with these companies to ensure that all dismantling activities at the Invergordon Service Base are carried out to the highest standards.”

Bob Buskie added:

“The Port is ideally located in the North Sea.  Our status as a Trust Port, together with our proven environmental record, ensures platforms will be decommissioned in a way that meets the latest environmental standards. 

That status also ensures that 100% of any profits will be reinvested in the Port’s future development for the benefit of our stakeholders. We are already in discussions with customers who have structures to decommission and I can see the first of the projects coming to the Firth soon.”