UK: North Sea decommissioning hub in store as new joint venture takes shape

UK’s Forth Ports Limited and AF Offshore Decom UK on August 28 signed the head of agreement with the intent to establish a new joint venture, AF Dundee, which will lay the foundations of creating a UK North Sea oil and gas decommissioning hub in the city of Dundee, with its nucleus at the port.

AF Offshore Decom UK, a subsidiary of Norway’s AF Gruppen, is a North Sea decommissioning contractors. AF Gruppen owns and runs AF Vats Environmental Base in Norway, the North Sea’s facility for decommissioning offshore installations.

The Port of Dundee is placed to accommodate a significant share of North Sea decommissioning work due to its proximity to many UK North Sea oil and gas assets, rail and road links, port facilities, its on-site supply chain and the city’s skilled workforce, said AF Gruppen in a a statement on Monday.

The Port of Dundee, which is owned by Forth Ports, is currently installing a £10 million ($12.9M) quay extension which will feature the UK’s strongest quayside, specifically designed to equip the port to handle the large-scale loads demanded during decommissioning operations.

AF Offshore Decom UK has a track record of more than 15 years in the execution of North Sea’s decommissioning projects, such as Ekofisk 2/4T, Statoil H7/B11, CNR’s Murchison and more.

The agreement will not lead to site investments in fixed  installations for AF Gruppen.

Charles Hammond, Chief Executive of Forth Ports, said: “This is great news for the city, for the local economy and for the port. Our vision is to position Dundee as a major decommissioning center for the North Sea and to ensure that customers gain access to an efficient, cost effective decommissioning solution. Partnering with such an established and respected organisation as AF Offshore UK will most certainly enable this vision.”

Bengt Hildisch, President of AF Offshore Decom, said: “AF Offshore Decom is pleased to find a partner that shares the same vision and goals as us; to develop and operate a safe and cost efficient disposal yard in the UK. We have been seeking for the right opportunity that enables us to build and expand our capabilities to the UK and create a sustainable solution together with our yard in Norway for the whole North Sea.”

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