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Gary Smith, Scottish secretary of the GMB union, claimed the value of decommissioning is “maybe even as high as £150 billion”.
. . .
The trade union leader said 60% of the clean-up costs for the North Sea would be footed by the taxpayer in government grants and subsidies.
An alternative approach would be to plug the wells, making infrastructure clean and safe, instead of funding complete removal. This will allow Government to redirect the substantial capital spend required for removal into renewables for example, the consequence being far superior sustainability metrics. Alternatively funds could be redirected into Government budgets for health or education or used to help our ailing steel and shipbuilding industries. The benefits for society, the environment and the economy would be much greater than those provided by the complete removal of offshore infrastructure.
. . .
I believe that the sustainability metrics will be far superior for plugging and abandoning wells, as opposed to the current approach. However what we need now is a comparative assessment to provide the evidence which could form the basis for challenging current legislation.