VIDEO: £12m for harbour expansion announced by First Minister

Nicola Sturgeon will today announce a £12million boost towards Aberdeen Harbour’s £350m expansion.

Scottish Enterprise has contributed the sum for the project, which is expected to create 2,300 jobs in the next decade.

The harbour expansion at Nigg Bay will deepen the port to support decommissioning of oil rigs, capacity for renewables and allow bigger cruise ships to dock in the city.

Speaking ahead of her visit, Ms 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 £5million Decommissioning Challenge Fund.”

The project, due to be completed in 2020, has also been financed with a loan of up to £175million from the European Investment Bank, as well as up to £11million from Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils through the city deal.

Scottish Enterprise director of energy Maggie McGinlay declared the project had nationwide significance.

She said: “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.”

Aberdeen Harbour chief executive Colin Parker added bigger ships were becoming more common, so the harbour needed to grow to accommodate them.

He said: “This funding is immensely significant and demonstrates recognition of this strategic project as one of national and international importance.

“The facilities 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.”