Oil Rig Maintenance



The Highlands and Islands boasts world-leading expertise in decommissioning – both in the North Sea oil and gas sector, and also in nuclear clean-up.

In 2017, Scottish Government announced a £5m Decommissioning Challenge Fund (DCF) targeted at supporting infrastructure upgrades and innovation in O&G structure retrieval and transportation methods at ports and harbours. It also encouraged engineering scoping work at key sites to build business cases and feasibility studies that help to attract private investment. The DCF aligned with cost reduction efforts related to retrieval and disposal activities, with the aim of enhancing the Scottish onshore decommissioning market. 

A number of strategic sites and supply chain organisations in the Highlands and Islands received support from DCF, including; Stornoway Port Authority, Ardersier Port Ltd, Kishorn Port Ltd, Orkney Islands Council, Lerwick Engineering & Fabrication Ltd, and EMN Plant Ltd. 

The Offshore Floating Asset Decommissioning Market Study, funded through the DCF, is now available.

Dounreay in Caithness is recognised internationally as one of the most complex nuclear decommissioning challenges in Europe, whilst the break-up of the North Sea’s aging oil and gas infrastructure is expected to be a 30-year, £50 billion industry.

The skills and enterprise fostered by both sectors are giving Scottish companies a platform to compete on the European and global stage.

Shetland has already established a significant early foothold in the emergent oil and gas decommissioning market – a multi-billion pound opportunity poised for large-scale growth in the next few years. In what will be a competitive landscape, with facilities in Norway, Holland and Teesside all seeking to secure work, the Northern Isles have an ideal combination of deep water, experience and skills to take a major slice of the growing market.

Meanwhile the Dounreay facility in Caithness on Scotland’s north coast, led the world in fast reactor research and development from 1955 to 1994 and is now Europe’s largest nuclear clean-up and demolition project.

The site employs around 850 people, with a similar number working for other companies on site closure sub-contracts. Decommissioning Dounreay represents 10 per cent of the Caithness and North Sutherland workforce and gives the area unrivalled expertise in a specialised field.

For further details, please see the pages on Caithness and North Sutherland, and Shetland, which both have links to further information on the decommissioning projects happening in those areas.



The explore programme provides news, case studies, supply chain industry database, and details about the growing energy industry in the Highlands and Islands...

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