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PARIS, Sept 4 (Reuters) - French water and waste group Veolia Environnement has won a contract to decommission the 14,000 tonne YME oil platform in the Norwegian North Sea, the company said on Thursday.
It gave no financial details but said the contract was significant because it would be the first in an anticipated pipeline of work at the Lutelandet site in Norway
The 72 metre long and 87 metre high rig will be towed to the site. Veolia aims to recycle 99.7 percent of the structure's metals.
"This significant contract with YME will be our foothold in the oil and gas sector, which is integral to our future growth," Veolia's Estelle Brachlianoff said in a statement.
The firm wants to build up its oil rig decommissioning expertise as part of a strategy to shift its focus to industrial clients as margins shrink in it traditional municipal water operations.
Veolia said that 2,000 platforms worldwide need to be decommissioned over the next 10 years, representing an expanding market of 1 billion pounds per year.
Decommissioning can cost 100 million euros or more per platform, as many are polluted with dangerous waste including radioactive residues from oil drilling.
In the past six years, Veolia has dismantled six oil platforms in the North Sea for customers including BP, Total, ConocoPhillips, Hess and Royal Dutch Shell.
Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Michael Urquhart