Caithness in Scotland, will be unveiled as the UK’s latest energy hub at an event in Aberdeen next week at a lunch and learn event, run by industry body Subsea UK.
According to Subsea UK, the organisation representing the UK’s £9billion subsea industry, the event will showcase the wealth of expertise the area has to offer to the oil and gas industry, particularly in relation to subsea. The one day event (October 1), at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, will feature speakers from Subsea 7, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Norsea Group.
Sponsored by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, it will outline what is available to the oil and gas industry in the area also known as the Atlantic Frontier.
Twenty projects in the pipeline
Situated between the British mainland and the Northern Isles, Caithness is best known in the energy industry for Dounreay, the nuclear research establishment set up in 1955 to develop fast breeder reactor technology.
Following the closure of the reactors in 1994, attention has turned to the wider energy industry with companies including Subsea 7, ASCO and Kongsberg Maritime opting to base operations there, attracted by the mainland harbour and strong supply chain established to serve Dounreay.
Highland and Islands Enterprise anticipates about twenty projects in the Atlantic Frontier that could come forward by 2021 with Caithness the ideal base from which companies can operate in order to capitalise on these.
“We are excited by the capacity and potential at the tip of the mainland of the UK,” said Roy Kirk, area manager with Highlands and Island Enterprise. “We see the region developing both as an operations base as well as a supply base. Our strong connectivity and deepwater harbours offer considerable savings rather than using Norway as a refuelling point.”
Kirk hopes that the event will inform and encourage Aberdeen companies to build links with Caithness. He said: “The aim is to make Aberdeen-based companies aware of the financial incentives, talent pool, capacity and infrastructure available by using Caithness as an energy hub.”
Neil Gordon, chief executive, Subsea UK said: “As oil & gas fields have moved North over the years starting in the Southern sector, we have seen ports develop up the East Coast to serve the developments. As the Atlantic Frontier develops, it will need a base to service its needs to help reduce costs.
“Due to the legacy of Dounreay, the area boasts a strong engineering skill base and instead of losing this native talent, we want to see it further developed by applying it to the oil and gas industry. For example, the local supply chain that was initially developed established to service Dounreay is now diversifying into other energy industries including renewables and oil and gas.
“We hope to hear first-hand from companies what we as an industry can do to make the Atlantic Frontier a key part of their future investment plans.”