The visit has been organised by Kishorn Port Limited (KPL), the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to showcase its capabilities following the redevelopment of the dry dock and yard.
Global firms will be represented at the Kishorn Yard in Strathcarron, which has seen a wave of investments recently to reinstate and upgrade the dry dock in preparation for energy sector projects.
The site was developed in the 1970s as a manufacturing and fabrication yard for oil platforms, with more than 3,000 employed at the site in 1977 during the construction of the renowned 600,000 tonne Ninian Central Platform. As one of the largest dry docks in Europe, the facility was also central to the manufacturing of the two Skye Bridge concrete caissons which were floated out in 1994.
Kishorn is an ideal location for the decommissioning of floating oil and gas structures, with immediately adjacent deep-water access and significant laydown space neighbouring the dry dock. In addition, it retains its original capability and expertise in the construction of large concrete structures.
There is a growing interest in floating concrete foundations for the ever-expanding offshore wind industry as the sector moves to larger turbines. The refurbished dry dock gates are 160m in length and there is 13m of accesses water depth into the dock.
HIE invested £158,932 in a £450,000 project in 2017 to completely refurbish and upgrade the dock in readiness for new contracts. The gates have been overhauled, the site cleaned and a new access road has been created which leads into the dry dock.
KPL was also successful in receiving the Scottish Government’s Decommissioning Challenge Fund, with £800,000 awarded last year for infrastructure upgrades at the dry dock, making it Bureau Veritas approved and open for business.
Directors of KPL, Simon Russell and Alasdair Ferguson as well as Bill Cattanach OBE, head of supply chain at OGA, hosted the event.
KPL’s Simon Russell, said: “The day provides a great opportunity to demonstrate Kishorn’s readiness to engage in a wide range of oil, gas and energy related projects. We are currently pursuing a number of live enquiries which could see the yard and dry dock resurrected in the very near future. After ten years of effort and investment at Kishorn, it is great to be on the threshold of awakening the ‘sleeping giant.’
Audrey MacIver, director of energy & low carbon from HIE, said: “It’s great to be here today with our partners as well as the oil and gas representatives. The dock has huge potential, particularly in the decommissioning of floating structures and platforms which can be removed in a single lift, renewables and aquaculture. It would be great to see it coming to life again, providing valuable rural jobs, contributing to both economic and community growth and the wider competitiveness of the region. We believe it is now only a matter of time before the facility witnesses a long line of decommissioning and construction projects.”
Bill Cattanach, from the OGA, added: “To deliver the MER UK Strategy, the OGA is supporting the industry to reduce the overall financial burden of decommissioning UKCS infrastructure as it comes to the end of its productive life. It’s important there are a range of ‘fit-for-purpose’ facilities ready to accept projects which will create competition in the market place. KPL has been foresighted and invested money to bring the old dock back to its former glory making it a real option for oil companies to include in tender lists.”
Liberty Steel which operates the nearby aluminium smelter in Fort William will be at the event to talk about its plans to produce new steel from recycled material. This, in conjunction with offshore infrastructure recycling at Kishorn could create an efficient circular economy opportunity within a very small geographical footprint.
Wednesday’s event will focus on a responsible approach to recycling and the circular economy, where the dry dock offers a unique opportunity to lead in going beyond compliance. Representatives from both the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Environment Agency will be attending to provide information on all environmental aspects of decommissioning
Senior managers from Liberty Steel which operates the nearby aluminium smelter in Fort William will be at the event to talk about its plans to produce new steel from recycled material. This, in conjunction with offshore infrastructure recycling at Kishorn could create an efficient circular economy opportunity within a very small geographical footprint.
The event demonstrates the huge interest in decommissioning within the region and is a clear sign to the industry that the facility is ready and open for business.