A Scottish firm that operates remote controlled submarines used on North Sea oil and gas projects expects to create 50 jobs after winning a bumper contract from a subsea construction specialist.

ROVOP has won a £45 million deal to supply Remote Operated Vessel services on projects in areas such as the North Sea for London-based Ceona.

The Aberdeen-based company will provide ROVs that will operate from vessels Ceona is developing for use on projects such as laying deepwater pipelines.

With backing from US investment bank Goldman Sachs, Ceona aims to capitalise on booming investment in subsea projects by oil and gas firms around the world. The North Sea is one of its target areas.

The contract should help ROVOP maintain the rapid growth the company has achieved to date.

Founded in 2011, ROVOP recorded turnover of £10m in the last 12 months.

The company already has more than 50 employees.

The company's rapid growth provides evidence of the boom in high value services activity in the UK, which is being powered by surging investment by oil and gas firms in UK waters.

The subsea industry has been a big beneficiary of moves by companies like Shell and BP to invest billions of pounds developing big new fields west of Shetland.

The development of the new fields has triggered heavy investment in infrastructure that will be installed on the seabed. This includes the facilities that are used to connect subsea wells with production platforms and pipelines.

In July, Subsea UK said the sector could increase its output to £11.1bn in 2016 from £8.9bn in 2012.

Almost half the respondents to a survey by the trade body expected to achieve growth of at least 20% in the next three years.

The number of jobs supported by the UK industry increased to 66,000 last year, including those working in the wider supply chain, from 50,000 in 2010.

ROVOP's managing director Steven Gray noted that Subsea UK aims to help the UK industry recruit the thousands of people it expects will be needed to meet demand.

The increase in activity has sparked concerns that companies may be hampered by a shortage of firms with the specialised skills required in subsea engineering.

However, Mr Gray noted ROVOP has developed its own academy to help train people. This features a £250,000 simulator.

He said: "Over the last 18 months, ROVOP has already recruited 50 people and through our proprietary ROVOP Academy, we believe we will continue to attract new talent."

Mr Gray said the academy allows the firm to provide a structured career progression for its ROV pilots.

Mr Gray founded ROVOP after working as a lawyer at Dundas & Wilson and in the private equity industry with Lloyds Development Capital.

He set up Rovop with Mark Vorenkamp and Scott Freeland -who have oil services backgrounds.

The company has been able to tap into strong investor enthusiasm for the subsea sector and secured £8m funding within its first 14 months.

The Scottish Loan Fund agreed to provide up to £5m, while Royal Bank of Scotland provided £1m. ROVOP also secured £2m lease finance from undisclosed private investors.

Ceona is also targeting markets such as Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa.

The ROVs will be used on the Polar Onyx and Amazon vessels, which Ceona expects will enter service in 2014 and 2015 respectively. The ships have been designed to operate in remote and challenging environments.