A temporary port for the oil industry to the east of the Falkland Islands capital is under consideration, but will be removed once a deep water modern permanent sea terminal is constructed in Port William, according to local officials.
The issue turned into alarm by the content of a full page advertisement in the Falklands’ weekly Penguin News which sought expressions of interest in the building of a port in Stanley harbour.
But Director of Central Services, Simon Fletcher quoted by Penguin News said that what is planned is only intended to be temporary and will be cleared away, when the new port planned for Port William is up and running.
Dick Sawle, elected member of the Legislative Assembly and who holds the port development portfolio, confirmed to Penguin News that part of the decision by Executive Council to construct a new port in Port William was the wish, in the long term, to remove all oil industry’s infrastructure from Stanley harbour.
However, recognising that there was likely to be a gap between the completion of the new port and the beginning of the exploitation phase of the developing oil industry, which is anticipated, could be as early as 2017.
The Falkland Islands government is currently working with Premier Oil on interim port arrangements in Stanley harbour.
MLA Sawle said that this temporary provision was in the hands of the oil industry, but would have to meet the usual planning requirements and was quite separate from other plans being developed by FIG for the ongoing maintenance of FIPASS as a resource for the use of the fishing industry.
Apart from the suggestion made in Premier’s advertisement that the temporary oil port development would be located to the east of FIPASS, Mr Fletcher said that there were at the moment no concrete plans in place.
The final design would depend on Premier Oil with whom government was now holding regular meetings.
What the company needed, said Mr Fletcher was a facility of the right scale and complexity to enable them to bring forward the development of the Sea Lion field to the earliest date possible.
Mr Fletcher, told Penguin News that FIG will be making public what it calls a ‘Programme Definition’ relating to the construction of a new port in Port William.
According to Mr Fletcher the aim of this document is to set out the ground strategy for the project and to itemise the individual projects which will need to come together to allow completion of the whole by early 2017, as is planned.
These projects will include the new port itself, the new road and its associated utilities, plus what is intended to happen to FIPASS. Mr Fletcher said that he thought it was important that government should show people what they were thinking and give some milestones by which progress towards the completion of this project could be judged.
What was planned was major infrastructure which would affect Stanley for the next ten to twenty years and onwards. FIG was hoping, he said, that the document, when completed and released, would also indicate the massive opportunities for local businesses that this project would create