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Archive for October, 2011

Nigg Energy Park announcement marks new era for energy industry

Friday, October 28th, 2011

I visited the Nigg Fabrication Yard in Easter Ross this week, for the first time since the First Minister joined Roy MacGregor to announce that his Global Energy Group had closed the deal with KBR and the Wakleyn Trust and now were the new proud owners of the Yard, or the Nigg Energy Park as we shall now think of it. The old tired, peeling KBR and Hifab signs were gone, replaced by smart new Global Energy Nigg billboards, with a simple but clever logo that highlights the word Nigg, with a neat design that simultaneously manages to convey waves, Ben Wyvis and the Sutors of Cromarty that frame the entrance to the Firth. Well, to me anyway.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of this deal, for Scotland, the Highlands and Islands, and the wider Scottish energy supply chain. We now have one of Scotland’s fastest growing energy companies owning arguably Scotland’s best deep water energy fabrication yard, and determined to develop it as a multi-user energy park. So from HIE’s viewpoint we have the best of both worlds, an ambitious Highland company now owning a key strategic asset, yet able to offer potential renewable energy inward investors ideal facilities to fabricate, assemble and deploy the new generation of offshore wind, wave and tidal devices that will provide a major proportion of Scotland’s electricity needs over the next 5-10 years.

The yard still looks tired of course, as it’s had no investment or significant maintenance for ten years, and many of the buildings date from the early 70s – and who foresaw then that the North Sea oil industry would still be going strong in 2011, and still expected to be a major oil producer for another 40 years? However Global has ambitious plans to develop the site, open the huge dry-dock, and provide the sort of facilities that will allow a real multi-user site to grow. That’s why HIE is delighted to support their future plans with assistance of £1.8m, support that allows the company to accelerate their re-development schedules, allowing Nigg – and the Highlands and Islands – to maximise the opportunities that offshore renewables offer the North of Scotland.

Energy North Awards highlight the region’s expertise

Monday, October 24th, 2011

It was a real pleasure to be hosting Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s table at the inaugural Energy North awards on Thursday 29th September, not least due to the very pleasant company of our guests – you know who you are!  The event really showcased the talent, expertise and leading business capabilities of our region and further served to illustrate the exciting energy opportunities this region offers our people, businesses and economy.  Our congratulations go to all the deserving award winners and indeed to all those shortlisted. For the details of the winners visit the Energy North website

I was particularly struck by the fact that these awards celebrated success across the energy industry, with many of the categories equally relevant to oil and gas and to the renewables sector e.g “Best Subsea Service”, “Best Service Supply”, “Best Export”, “Best Pioneer” and finally the HIE-sponsored Ambassador Award. It is often cited that there is competition between these sectors, but these awards clearly demonstrated that there is already substantial evidence of the two sectors complementing each other and combining to make even more competitive businesses in the Highlands and Islands.  We must ensure that such synergy continues to grow as we capitalise upon the projected continued growth in oil and gas activity, and on Scotland’s ambitious renewable energy targets – in both of which this area has considerable competitive and comparative advantage.

Finally, I’d like to congratulate the Energy North team for pulling these successful awards together, and providing an excellent platform for the promotion of the region’s rich energy assets. Good luck to them and the entrants of the 2012 Energy North Awards.