GMB Calls on Governments to Produce Urgent Decom Investment Program

GMB Calls on Governments to Produce Urgent Decom Investment Program
The UK's GMB union calls on UK and Scottish governments to bring forward an urgent investment program to get Scottish ports and fabrication yards decommissioning-ready.

The UK’s GMB union has called on UK and Scottish governments to bring forward an urgent investment program to get Scottish ports and fabrication yards decommissioning-ready, or else risk losing employment prospects in the sector.

“If we don’t act fast then it could mean the worst of all worlds - a chance to boost economic and employment prospects gone and the taxpayer paying for the clean-up of the North Sea while other countries profit from decommissioning at our expense,” GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith said in a statement sent to Rigzone.

“Scotland has assets like the Port of Dundee and BiFab in Fife that are primed to compete for a share of this highly lucrative domestic and international market, but the task will be made easier if they are given state support to get decom-ready quicker,” he added.

“All of us are going to pay for North Sea decommissioning so the least that our governments can do is to take the appropriate action to ensure more of our own money is redistributed back into our economy and not into the pockets of largely overseas-based oil and gas contractors,” Smith continued.

GMB’s call for investment follows a report from CRF Consultants, which revealed that the UK taxpayer could be liable for up to 75 percent of decom costs over the next forty years.

“Latest estimates associated with fields across the UK Continental Shelf mean an increasing financial burden will be placed on the Treasury in the form of tax refunds to oil and gas companies -  potentially as much as 75 percent of the out-turn costs,” GMB Scotland said in a union statement.

“Average costs for North Sea decommissioning expenditure are growing by 14 percent a year, with the final cost of decommissioning now expected to be in excess of GBP 100 billion [$124 billion],” the union added. 

In its report, which was commissioned by GMB, CRF Consultants proposed that urgent focus should be placed in three key areas; life of field extension, decommissioning execution and job retention.

CRF stated that the UK government must take action to retain jobs in the oil and gas industry, or prepare a transition process into decommissioning where different skills and training may be required.

“While there will be onshore opportunities through transition of employment and skills and through job creation in the supply chain, the majority of jobs will be required for offshore purposes, including plug and abandon activities, preparation (isolating, cleaning and removal), decommissioning vessel crews and project management,” CRF said in its report.

A graduate in journalism from Cardiff University, Andreas has eight years of experience as a business journalist. Email Andreas at andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com

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