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Stornoway Port Authority has been chosen as one of the first recipients for a funding award from the Scottish Government’s Decommissioning Challenge Fund.

The SPA has received a grant offer of up to £73,000 to support feasibility studies it is undertaking at Arnish. The award is one of only seven projects in total from the first round across Scotland which have been offered a share of a £1.1 million tranche of funding.

Alex MacLeod, Stornoway Port Authority Chief Executive with Economy Secretary Keith Brown in Stornoway.

The awarded funding will support work on an a number of feasibility studies including an Environmental Impact Assessment, an engineering assessment and a local recycling options investigation – to develop decommissioning options at the Arnish site.

SPA chief executive Alex MacLeod said: “We welcome this support from the Scottish Government and the Decommissioning Challenge Fund. This funding will go towards vital projects that will ultimately help us to maximise the potential industries and opportunities available for the Arnish and Deep Water Port areas. This is the start of a 2-year process to gain the necessary consents to allow decommissioning works to be undertaken.

“We were pleased to welcome the Economy Secretary Keith Brown to Stornoway ahead of the funding announcement and he showed great interest in our aspirations as well as engaging with our plans. We are also grateful to our partners, including Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and the Stornoway Trust for their support as we work together in bringing more opportunities to the local economy.”

The application from SPA to the DCF offered a clear fit with strategic aspirations at a local and national level. Enhancing the capabilities of the Arnish Enterprise Area is part of the delivery of a wider £50m Stornoway Port Masterplan which identifies decommissioning as an area of market opportunity for the port.

The Decommissioning Challenge Fund will provide opportunities for the oil and gas supply chain to benefit from the decommissioning of North Sea infrastructure.

Grant offers have been made to projects in Dundee, Methil, Montrose, Ardersier, Stornoway and Hunterston, with a second round of funding underway.

During a visit to Stornoway Port Authority, Economy Secretary Keith Brown said:

“Companies across the supply chain are actively engaged in decommissioning projects, with Scottish based firms having secured more than half of the value of contracts awarded.

“Our Decommissioning Challenge Fund is a clear signal to the market to think seriously about decommissioning – a market forecasted to be worth £17 billion by 2025 – and to plan and invest accordingly.

“In spite of the competition, Scotland has distinct advantages and assets that make it an attractive offer – and we are doing everything possible to stimulate investment and ensure our oil and gas sector remains competitive and attractive for decades to come.”

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