Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is supporting a £2 million expansion project by a successful engineering firm in Shetland as it bids to ensure local firms are ready to meet the supply needs of the growing energy industry.
Ocean Kinetics Limited (OKL), based in the Marina Business Park in Lerwick, provide a range of engineering services for the oil and gas, port services and renewable energy sectors.
It has reached capacity on its site and the investment will see the development of new, larger, energy efficient premises. This will include offices, workshops and storage facilities. It will also create a designated training area within the new facility that will be used by apprentices in the various trades.
Funding of £240,000 and £500,000 is being provided by HIE and the Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) scheme respectively towards total project costs. RSA is a national grant scheme available for capital expenditure projects taking place within Scotland which will create and safeguard jobs. The development is set to create 24 new jobs.
John Henderson, Managing Director of Ocean Kinetics, said: "We are delighted to have the ongoing support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise which has shared our ambitions to grow at every stage. The new facility is part of our growth plan which will allow the company to expand as new opportunities arise, a key element of this is the recruitment and training of new staff to help alleviate the skills shortage locally."
Mark Georgeson, HIE's Head of Business Support works closely with OKL. He commented: "The company is flexible and innovative in its approach to providing engineering services to a wide range of customers across the UK. OKL has an excellent reputation and our role is to continue to help management grow the company and provide high quality jobs in Shetland."
He added: "Investment in the North Sea is forecast to increase in the next five years in oil and gas and marine renewables. We are already seeing significant investments in Shetland, a recent example being TOTAL's project to build a new gas plant at Sullom Voe. The initial work is worth in the region of £500 million and is part of an overall investment of £2 billion. TOTAL has indicated they anticipate working with local firms on the project where possible.
"As a community Shetland has many of the required skills and expertise which will be needed to support the next stages of energy development in the North Sea. HIE is committed to continuing to work with our businesses and communities to provide support to maximise these fantastic opportunities."
OKL's main customers at present are BP and Fortum at the Sullom Voe Terminal, Aberdeen Harbour Board, Dover Harbour Board and Scottish Water. OKL have recently set up a joint venture in Shetland called ZE1 Global OKL with Lerwick Engineering and Fabrication, Malakoff Ltd and Carisma RCT Ltd. The expansion of facilities will support their combined ambitions and capability to bid for larger contracts. The new building is expected to be completed by spring 2012.