The Scottish port of Aberdeen is positioning itself to become a leading European hub for offshore decommissioning, a business that is set to grow dramatically in the coming couple of decades.
The board of Aberdeen Harbour has announced that its plans to expand facilities into Nigg Bay, to the south of the existing harbour, have been given the go ahead.
Commencement of the £350m project, which was recently granted planning consent in the form of Marine Licenses and a Harbour Revision Order by the Scottish government, was sanctioned by the board yesterday. The construction contract with its preferred bidder, Dragados UK is due to be formalised at a signing ceremony today.
“We are delighted that, after six years of detailed planning and extensive consultation with our many stakeholders and the regulatory authorities, we are now in a position to approve commencement of construction”, stated Colin Parker, chief wxecutive of Aberdeen Harbour Board.
“Following a detailed engagement process, Aberdeen Harbour Board, in partnership with Dragados UK, a main contractor, will develop facilities over the next three years that will represent a step change in the marine support capabilities in Scotland. These will transform the port’s ability to accommodate the trend for larger vessels we are witnessing across a whole range of industries.
“The expansion will afford existing customers the opportunity to diversify and expand their interests, whilst attracting new customers and markets to the port, including up-scaled decommissioning activity, a more significant share of the available cruise vessel fleet and larger more cost-effective commercial vessels”.
Alistair Mackenzie, chairman of Aberdeen Harbour Board added, “Aberdeen Harbour has been in existence for almost 900 years. Its longevity can be attributed to its ability to adapt to changing trading requirements and being forward-thinking in delivering new and improved facilities to support its customers, while at the same time attracting new business.
“This major new chapter in the port’s history continues this approach and underpins the Trust Port ethos of viewing future generations as key stakeholders. We believe that the infrastructure developed in Nigg Bay will encourage and support the continued prosperity of the city and region that the harbour serves and make a significant national economic contribution”.
The development is scheduled to be completed by 2020. The new facilities will include 1,400 m of new quay, with a water depth of up to 10.5 m and will create an additional 125,000 sq m of lay-down area. An independent study, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, estimates that the development will generate an additional £1bn per annum to the economy by 2035, and will create an additional 7,000 equivalent jobs.