AN Aberdeen group which supports North Sea supply operations expects to create jobs after securing bank funding to support growth amid signs sentiment is improving in the oil and gas industry.

The ACE group has been offered a seven figure funding package by Clydesdale Bank it will use to help capitalise on growth opportunities it believes are emerging in the key North Sea market.

Clydesdale noted Ace deals with more than three quarters of the helicopter-freight cargo that is sent offshore in the area, which has been hit hard by the fall out from the sharp drop in the crude price since 2014.

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However, ACE’s managing director Terry Cobban noted: “There is more positivity in the industry.”

ACE has won a number of new contracts in recent months.

The partial recovery in the crude price since November last year has provided some relief to firms across the oil and gas supply chain.

Exporting countries agreed last week to extend production curbs until the end of 2018 to support the market.

The results of the latest Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce increased hopes the sector is on the road to recovery.

Mr Cobban noted: “Businesses are starting to look for more innovative ways to operate and ensure they are working as efficiently as possible.”

ACE is investing in new operating systems to help firms increase efficiency. It has created a compliance department to help firms respond to an EU regulatory change that has impacted the industry.

Clydesdale said ACE has launched a recruitment drive under which it will fill roles across the business. The company expects to create around five posts in coming months depending on performance. It has 111 employees.