Funding boost for Aberdeen Harbour expansion

FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has welcomed news that Scottish Enterprise will contribute almost £12 million towards the Aberdeen Harbour expansion project.

The scheme, which is due to be completed by 2020, is tipped to create 2,300 jobs by 2026 and will bring benefits to the oil industry as well as help capitalise on opportunities in the cruise tourism and renewables markets.

The £11.7 million of Scottish Enterprise funding is in addition to support from the European Investment Bank, which is providing a loan of up to £175 million, and support of up to £11 million from Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils via Aberdeen City Region Deal.

On a visit to the harbour, Nicola Sturgeon said, “Aberdeen Harbour is Scotland’s main oil and gas port and one of Europe’s leading marine support centres for offshore energy. This funding will open up significant opportunities to diversify and exploit the rapid growth in cruise tourism and the renewables markets in Scotland.

“We are already seeing Scottish-based firms seizing decommissioning opportunities, and we are committed to supporting Scottish industry to win further valuable contracts. That’s why we developed a Decommissioning Plan last year, and have since launched the £5 million Decommissioning Challenge Fund.”

Scottish Enterprise director of energy Maggie McGinlay added, “The Aberdeen Harbour expansion project is strategically important to the growth of Scotland’s economy. A recent impact assessment study confirms the project will not only help sustain growth in the oil and gas sector, but will also help to maximise opportunities from the growing cruise tourism and renewables sectors.”

Colin Parker, chief executive of Aberdeen Harbour commented, “This funding is immensely significant. It further demonstrates recognition of this strategic project as one of national and international importance. The facilities developed will transform the port’s ability to accommodate the trend for larger vessels we are witnessing across a whole range of industries, thereby encouraging commercial diversification and future-proofing the port’s ability to support large scale marine operations.”