The Scottish fishing industry is urging oil and gas companies to ensure that offshore infrastructure is completely removed from the seabed when it is decommissioned.

In a new policy paper, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation highlights the safety of fishermen as its number one priority while recognising that the removal of platforms and subsea installations will herald the potential return of former fishing grounds.

The organisation vows to continue to work closely with the oil and gas industry, building on the close relationship forged over many years of co-existence particularly in the North Sea, as it enters this new phase.

“The optimum position for fishing boats is the complete removal of oil and gas infrastructure, and in the vast majority of cases that is what we will expect when fields are decommissioned,” said SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong.

“Inevitably, however, there will be a small number of instances where this cannot happen for reasons of potential pollution or safety, and we recognise that. In these cases we will be looking to work closely with the oil and gas companies to understand fully what and where the remaining hazards are.

“Decommissioning is a gargantuan task for the oil and gas industry that will take place over many decades, and our aim is plain and simply to begin the dialogue early and to remain engaged throughout.”

Oil and Gas UK figures estimate that within the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) there are 11,000 wells, 45,000km of pipelines (including cables and umbilicals), 560 steel platforms, 24 gravity-based structures, 40,000 concrete mattresses and hundreds of tonnes of offshore structures such as subsea templates and manifolds that will need to be decommissioned.

More detail on the SFF’s decommissioning policy can be seen here: