The owners of Nigg oil yard on the Cromarty Firth in the Highlands are to hire 400 skilled workers next year, increasing the size of its operation by 50%
Global Energy Group, which in October 2011 bought the Nigg yard, is launching a Highland-wide recruitment drive for 400 staff to start work at Nigg and the neighbouring Invergordon Service Base. The jobs will focus on the oil and gas side of the company's operations.
First Minister Alex Salmond announced the jobs boost to the Scottish Parliament at First Minister's Questions, while Energy Minister Fergus Ewing joined Global Energy's chairman Roy MacGregor at Nigg to hear details of the company's latest expansion plans.
Mr Salmond said: "Scotland's people are its best asset. This latest recruitment drive is a testament to the strengths our workforce, Scotland's vibrant energy potential and the ambition of our energy sector. It is great news for the north of Scotland and rounds off another successful year for our energy industry.
"Buoyed by growing demand for the manufacture of advanced and highly-specialised technologies across energy sectors, Nigg Energy Park is set to re-industrialise the Cromarty Firth and help strengthen the wider Highland economy.
"Since buying the largely-dormant oil yard just over a year ago, Global Energy has begun a magnificent renaissance at Nigg. Their ambition is matched by the quality and skills of an expanding workforce - boosted by the Nigg Skills Academy I opened in March."
Mr MacGregor said: "From the outset, one of our main ambitions in developing Nigg Energy Park was to see this site once again becoming a major local employer, providing good, well-paid jobs for people and making a real contribution to the area's economy.
"A great deal of work has gone on over the past year since we took the facility over to try and ensure we could achieve that. We are delighted that the levels of work we are attracting to this excellent facility mean that we are now recruiting on this scale.
"Given the history Highland people have in working at Ardersier and Nigg, we believe these affiliations might inspire them to join our established workforce and in so doing use their skills to help us with the exciting contracts we have coming our way. "We hope that over the next few weeks we will have a great response to these new job opportunities and our team are all ready to deal rapidly and efficiently with the applications as they come in."
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing added: "Global Energy have to be congratulated on the great deal of work they have done over the past year since taking over the Nigg facility. This injection of high value employment ranging from project engineers, fabricators and welders to name a few will support secured contracts for the upgrade and refurbishment of drilling rigs.
"This Government is focused on doing all we can to help the energy industry in Scotland go from strength to strength and these new jobs will be a major boost to the Highland economy and will support the oil and gas industry with its crucial role in Scotland's future long-term economic success."
Highlands and Islands Enterprise invested £1.8 million to help support Nigg yard's transformation into a multi-user energy hub. Chief executive Alex Paterson said: "This announcement by Global Energy is great news and further emphasises the region's key role in the international energy sector. Over the coming years there are opportunities in both oil and gas, and renewable energy, which can contribute significantly to economic growth and employment."
Global Energy Group is a Highland-based international energy industry services group. Around 800 staff are currently employed at Nigg Energy Park.
Earlier this year, the innovative Nigg Skills Academy was officially opened within the Energy Park complex by the First Minister. It is funded by the Scottish Funding Council, Skills Development Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise in partnership with Global Energy.