Nigg Energy Park announcement marks new era for energy industry

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.

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