Highlands and Islands Labour MSP and Shadow Transport and Islands Minister, David Stewart, tackled Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, in parliament today about the future of the Arnish yard in Stornoway. The 40-strong workforce are facing uncertainty over their jobs as the downturn in the oil and gas industry begins to hit north based businesses.
Mr Stewart asked the Minister whether he shared his view that the Arnish fabrication yard, with its skilled staff, deep water and land to develop, could be considered as an ideal location for the newly announced Wave Energy Scotland posts and a facility to carry out future oil rig decommissioning.
Commenting on the Minister’s response, Mr Stewart said “I am pleased that the Minister acknowledges that an early cessation or continuing downturn of the oil and gas industry in the north sea will have a devastating effect throughout the Highlands and Islands.
Mr Stewart continued “I was pleased to hear that Wave Energy Scotland jobs can be expected to benefit the Highlands and Islands. However, the Minister was unable to give a commitment that the work needed to secure the future of Arnish will be forthcoming. I am to visit the yard at Arnish in the near future and will work with the yard management, the Scottish Government and the wider industry in the hopes of securing the yard’s future.”