Orkney Islands Council has given a demolition company the opportunity to investigate the potential of Lyness near Scapa Flow as a potential as a base for North Sea oil and gas decommissioning work.
Research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie has estimated up to £55 billion will be spent on decommissioning on the UK Continental Shelf over the next five years.
“Lyness has long played a role as an industrial site, not least as a major naval base through the two world wars, and this project could represent an important new chapter in the area’s history,” said councillor James Stockan, chair of the council’s development and infrastructure committee.
The Lyness project is at an early stage but the council said it has the potential to bring significant inward investment and economic benefits for Orkney.
Birmingham-based DSM Demolition has held early discussions with the council and visited Lyness to carry out assessments.
DSM believes Lyness has the capacity to provide a base for their activities in northern Scotland — and is attracted by skills and resources available locally.
DSM will now carry out further exploratory work.
The company will consult with local businesses and the Hoy and wider Orkney communities as it develops its proposals.
It will also talk to experts in the oil and gas sector to determine potential business for a new facility and carry out environmental assessment and feasibility testing.
Council convener Steven Heddle said: “This project has the potential to create significant employment, a range of business opportunities for local companies, and considerable economic benefits for Orkney as a whole.
“There will be a growing demand for oil and gas decommissioning facilities in the years ahead.
“Lyness and the natural deep-water harbour of Scapa Flow, with their location close to the North Sea, are ideally located to serve as a potential base for work of this kind.
“We now look forward to working with the company.
“Our priorities will be to ensure that Orkney benefits economically and that a development of this type is approached in an environmentally responsible manner, in order that we maintain our excellent track record for stewardship of our local environment and the seas around us.”