Anger erupts as North Sea decommissioning contract goes to non-UK firm

Jessica Morris
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Cabinets From Both UK And Scottish Governments Meet In North East Scotland
Tens of thousands of jobs are expected to be lost in the North Sea this year (Source: Getty)

Anger erupted today after UK companies lost out to a Norwegian firm in a tendering process to decommission an oil platform in the UK North Sea.

Unions urged policymakers in Holyrood and Westminster to ensure that the UK North Sea oil and gas industry benefits from an estimated £47bn which will be spent on decommissioning by 2040.

It comes as tens of thousands of jobs are expected to be lost in the North Sea this year as a result of tumbling global oil prices.

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Unite Scottish secretary, Pat Rafferty, said: "If workers here are to have any chance of benefiting, we need the industry and government to put in proper investment, and to ensure that companies co-operate and come up with business models that work. That simply has not been the case up until now."

Maersk granted a Norwegian port the contract to decommission its Janice Floating Production Unit yesterday.

Steve Todd, national secretary of trade union RMT, warned that a large chunk of work from the Maersk contract would go to firms outside of the embattled Norwegian and UK North Sea industry.

"The vessels and equipment being bought in are non-UK and non-Norwegian. To say it's being decommissioned in Norway is a bit misleading," Todd told City A.M.

"Action needs to be taken by both Holyrood and Westminster... to ensure that this doesn't happen again," he added.

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Deirdre Michie, chief executive of industry body Oil & Gas UK, told City A.M.: "This contract award highlights... the continuing need for the industry to support UK supply chain in developing an efficient and competitive decommissioning delivery capability that can compete for and win this kind of business.

"This is a key priority outlined by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) in its Decommissioning Strategy and the industry will work closely with the OGA through the MER UK Decommissioning Board, and together with the department for business, energy and industrial strategy and HM Treasury, to help the UKCS supply chain realise the potential of future opportunities."

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