Optimism remains that a rabbit can be pulled from a hat to rescue plans to revive the Ardersier yard.
Talks are understood to be continuing between various unnamed parties and the consortium that raised hopes of 2,500 jobs being created by breathing life into the derelict former McDermott’s fabrication yard at Whiteness near Nairn.
The “Port of Ardersier” went into administration last month.
The Scottish Government yesterday referred questions about the site to the development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
A government spokesman said: “HIE are in touch with the administrator and keeping us updated.”
HIE is known to have ploughed £720,000 into the consortium’s efforts to reopen the 400-acre deepwater facility which has lain empty since 2001. In its heyday, the yard employed 4,500 people.
A group of businessman hoped to land lucrative energy contracts and create a renewables operation to rival the success of the Global Energy operation at Nigg in Easter Ross.
Blair Nimmo, joint administrator and head of restructuring at KPMG in Scotland, said: “The directors spent several years exploring options to develop the site.
“However, the impact of the economic slowdown and the more recent decline in oil prices made the development or sale of the site extremely challenging and these factors ultimately led to the administration appointment.
“We are currently assessing the best options for disposal of the site.”
A spokesman for HIE added: “Our investment enabled the company to undertake the planning and consenting process for energy use.
“This has been achieved and these consents stay with the site, which remains a valuable asset to the region and fully consented as an energy port.”
He added: “We will work with the administrator to identify what the long term future options might be.”
Port of Ardersier Ltd chief executive Captain Steve Gobbi(CORRECT) indicated last week that a “positive outlook” remained for creating jobs “in a port-centric capacity.”
Highland Council leader Margaret Davidson said last night that the authority would welcome a breakthrough in the search for a resolution.
“It’s got huge potential and we want to see it moving,” she said. “It’s exactly the sort of place the council needs to see developed to bring jobs and business.”
A spokeswoman for the council confirmed that a barrier installed in the past week on a private access road to the yard is to deter unauthorised vehicles. The road is accessible for cyclists and pedestrians. The council is to replace the “No public access” sign with a “No unauthorised vehicles” sign.