Ribbon cut on £38m decommissioning centre

A £38 million research and development (R&D) centre opened today aimed at helping Scottish firms tap into the global market for decommissioning which is forecast to grow to be worth £80 billion.

Left to right are George Boyne, Colette Cohen, Paul Wheelhouse MSP and Lord Duncan. Picture: Contributed

The National Decommissioning Centre (NDC) at Newburgh in Aberdeenshire, a partnership between the Oil & Gas Technology Centre and the University of Aberdeen, aims to combine industry expertise with academic research to develop ways to cut decommissioning costs.

Some 100 offshore platforms and 5,700 kilometres of oil and gas pipelines are forecast to be decommissioned or reused over the next decade on the UK Continental Shelf at a total cost of £58bn.

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Industry regulator the Oil and Gas Authority has set a target for decommissioning costs to be reduced by at least 35 per cent.

With the global decommissioning market set to grow to £80bn over the next decade, the centre will also work with supply chain companies and technology developers in Scotland and across the UK to help them sell their expertise abroad.

The centre, backed by funds from the Aberdeen City Region Deal, is now in advanced discussions with several anchor partners.

Colette Cohen, chief executive at the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, said: “Together we’ll provide access to the brightest and best academic minds and help companies accelerate new technologies that transform mature field management and decommissioning.

“The centre will partner with industry and academia to deliver technology, share knowledge and provide thought leadership to reduce costs, extend field life, and challenge the conventional approach to decommissioning.”

George Boyne, principal of the University of Aberdeen, said: “By building expertise at all levels – academic and within industry – we will create competitive advantage for the oil and gas industry, and for decommissioning challenges in the wider energy sector, for example offshore renewables.”

Paul Wheelhouse, Scotland’s minister for energy, connectivity and the Islands said the centre “will cement the country as the place for decommissioning expertise”.