Orkney Harbours launches £230m infrastructure plan

Orkney Harbours said it has launched an ambitious £230 million infrastructure vision that “would place Orkney at the forefront of the drive for a cleaner, greener future.”

The Orkney Harbours Masterplan Phase 1 considers five main locations on the Orkney mainland for developments.

Phase 1 focuses on the Scapa Deep Water Quay, Hatston Pier, Kirkwall Pier, Scapa Pier and Stromness.

Phase 2 will ultimately develop the islands’ smaller harbours and piers across the archipelago.

Orkney Islands Council, the Statutory Harbour Authority, has overall responsibility for the project.

Central to the project is the geographical advantage of Scapa Flow, the largest natural deep-water harbor in the northern hemisphere, as the potential setting for “internationally significant” marine logistics to serve the new and emerging sectors including low carbon fuel transition and offshore wind developments.

Scapa Deep Water Quay is seen as the optimal location for construction and operations & maintenance activities associated with offshore wind, as well as for a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) storage and distribution hub.

This infrastructure also has the capability to accommodate semi-submersible platforms of all types, “giving Orkney a unique UK competitive edge within the existing oil and gas market.”

The project team believes it could be delivered by 2025.

Other proposals, such as Hatston and Kirkwall could take three or four years to deliver.

“Proposals focus on harbour infrastructure enhancements over a 20-year period that will generate jobs, additional revenue and attract new business,” said Orkney Harbours.

“It represents the first step in a review of Orkney Harbour Authority-owned infrastructure to create a base for innovation and secure the long-term future for the community.

“The masterplan embraces decarbonisation and transition away from fossil fuels.

“The infrastructure proposals have been designed to enable Orkney to manage this transition while continuing to generate social and economic benefit from ongoing oil and gas activity.

“An Outline Business Case commissioned by Orkney Marine Services found that the proposals will have a transformational impact on Orkney’s economy and society, with as many as 115 new jobs created.”

Orkney Islands Council leader James Stockan said: “Our vision is to build a truly sustainable business that is a core economic asset for Orkney, but also a first phase in enabling a scale of investment and logistical capability for the UK which will be of international significance.

“Prime Minister Boris Johnson clearly welcomed our ambition and Orkney’s potential during his recent visit to our islands.

“Describing as a ‘fantastic idea’ our vision for Orkney as a low-carbon, zero-emissions hub of innovation, with Scapa Flow at its heart.

“We believe the time is right to maximise the incredible natural assets and geography of Scapa Flow and Orkney to ensure a long-term sustainable future for our communities.

“We are open for business now and ready to work with potential investors and operators to develop the significant strategic and international opportunities Scapa Flow offers.

“The Scapa Deep Water Quay proposal has been included in the Islands Deal list of projects that has received funding commitment from the Scottish and UK governments, and we are continuing to ensure that the funding earmarked for this will be secured.”