The opening coincided with the first of up to a massive 20,000 tons of steel and other materials from Total's Frigg offshore platforms, being shipped into Lerwick for dismantling and disposal over the next three years, as part of a £250 million contract won by Aker Kvaerner in partnership with SBS, Saipem and Veolia Environmental Services.
More than 50 representatives from the oil and gas industry, Lerwick Port Authority, Shetland Islands Council, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, the DTI and local industry attended the opening ceremony, which was conducted by Allan Wishart, Chief Executive, Lerwick Port Authority.
Speaking at the opening, Murdo MacIver, Commercial Director, SBS Logistics, said: "The completion of this decommissioning pad represents the first stage in an investment program by SBS and Lerwick Port Authority, to prepare our Greenhead Base and Lerwick harbour for this contract and other potentially lucrative North Sea decommissioning work in the future.
"An estimated 40% of the 500 or so existing offshore North Sea oil and gas installations will be considered for decommissioning or abandonment in the next 20 to 30 years. This presents a fantastic opportunity for SBS and our partners, as well as for Shetland, as we are now geared up to meet the challenge of removing and deconstructing the wide variety of structures in the North Sea.
"I would like to thank all parties that have helped us reach this stage in the development of the decommissioning base here at Lerwick Harbor, particularly Shetland Enterprise and Shetland Leasing and Property, as well as Shetland Islands Council and Lerwick Port Authority for their support through the Shetland Decommissioning Company."
Allan Wishart added: "This is a landmark event for Shetland, representing as it does the start of a potentially lucrative new industry for the Island. Aker Kvaerner's offshore experience, SBS Logistics' quayside and landing operations and facilities and Veolia's waste management experience together provide a winning combination and I look forward to the announcement of future contract awards to this partnership from the decommissioning sector."
Kare Kristing, Director Decommissioning, Aker Kvaerner said: "Decommissioning represents a hugely exciting challenge for businesses like Aker Kvaerner. We have extensive experience and capabilities within the sector and have taken a series of strategic steps to ensure we are a key player in this burgeoning market.
"This exciting and very welcome development here in Shetland represents a very real step forward in terms of the industry preparing for the forthcoming rise in decommissioning activity. Having the right infrastructure in place is extremely important, and we look forward to working with our partners to seize opportunities as they arise."
Cyrille du Peloux, Veolia Environmental Services' Chief Executive UK and Northern Europe, said: "We are delighted to be involved in this major decommissioning project and believe the opening of the new facility marks the start of an important new industry sector in the Shetlands. Our responsibilities include managing and operating the new site and our environmental expertise will be vital in providing specialist waste separation and processing services with a target 98% recycling/recovery rate."
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