Oil and gas businesses in Dundee have joined forces with the operator of the city’s port to establish a new alliance aimed at positioning Dundee as a central UK hub for North Sea oil and gas decommissioning.

The alliance, named Forth and Tay Decommissioning, brings together businesses with expertise in the oil and gas decommissioning sector based at the Port of Dundee, with the added potential to capitalise on the natural deep water in the Firth of Forth. It has been created to offer an end-to-end service that can manage every step of the decommissioning process from a single, strategically positioned base in Dundee.

Metal recycling, decommissioning and steel tubulars specialist John Lawrie Group is a founding partner of the alliance. The Aberdeen-headquartered company joins ABB, Augean North Sea Services, COES Caledonia, Forth Ports, Offshore Decommissioning Services and Well-Safe Solutions in making up the group. Pooling the expertise of these supply chain companies will allow Forth and Tay Decommissioning to support all aspects of the decommissioning process from well abandonment and making safe, through topside and subsea removal, to onshore recycling and monitoring.

The launch came a month after John Lawrie Group unveiled its own plans to establish a metal recycling and decommissioning base at the Port of Dundee. Scheduled to be operational in early 2020, the two-acre facility will be used by John Lawrie Group’s metals division to dismantle redundant offshore infrastructure brought ashore during oil and gas decommissioning projects and also for metal processing operations. John Lawrie Metals is currently applying to the relevant authorities and licensing bodies in order to secure the necessary waste management licences for the site.

An aerial picture of the Port of Dundee

John Lawrie Group’s Dundee facility joins its existing Scottish sites at Montrose, Aberdeen, Evanton near Invergordon and Lerwick on Shetland. The firm is one of the country’s leading metal recyclers and a strong supporter of the circular economy, whereby alternative uses are sought for redundant materials in order to keep them in use for longer. One such example is steel tubular pipes which were originally used offshore for drilling operations being reused as steel piling pipe in the construction sector.

John Lawrie Metals managing director, Dave Weston, said: “Dundee is home to an excellent oil and gas decommissioning supply chain, which possesses a broad skillset that can offer an integrated service to oil and gas operators. As we have experienced elsewhere, collaborative working can be crucial in controlling the costs of decommissioning projects. Innovative thinking can be equally important and Forth Ports’ novel approach to the possibility of servicing the largest oil and gas structures in the Firth of Forth demonstrates this and outlines the full potential capabilities of Forth and Tay Decommissioning.”

Commenting on the new alliance, Callum Falconer, chief executive of Dundeecom, said: “Today is an exciting day as we launch Forth and Tay Decommissioning. This is the natural evolution of Dundeecom, which was started two years ago with the vision of creating a decommissioning hub in Dundee. This has now been realised.

“Forth and Tay Decommissioning will create the framework for a sustainable, profitable and low cost decommissioning industry in Dundee, and better serve the future needs of our industry in Scotland. We are supporting and aligning with the UK Government and industry regulators through our new model for decommissioning.”

In order to create a service that can fully address the needs of the UK decommissioning sector, Forth and Tay Decommissioning is investigating the potential to develop a floating deep water quayside in the Firth of Forth. The virtual port would have the potential to accommodate the largest decommissioning projects.

Charles Hammond, chief executive of Forth Ports, said: “Through significant private investment and strong partnerships, Dundee now offers a full service for the North Sea oil and gas decommissioning sector. The proximity to the skills base in Dundee, along with unrivalled land space and heavy lift quayside, makes Dundee the logical choice for large scale decommissioning in Scotland. The study into a virtual deep water quay will ensure that we take advantage of the deep water in the Forth to accommodate the largest of decom projects.”

For further information on John Lawrie Group’s decommissioning services visit the decom section of the website.