AMBITIOUS plans by Aberdeen Harbour Board to create a second quayside facility for Europe’s leading oil industry port at Nigg could boost the Scottish economy by almost £1 billion a year, according to a report commissioned by Scottish Enterprise.
The port authority is proposing to spend £320 million to create a second harbour and additional berthing facilities at Nigg Bay.
Aberdeen Harbour Board wants to expand into the area to meet the increasing demand for berthing space from the oil and gas sector. And it is also hoped that more cruise ships will berth in the city if the project goes ahead.
Earlier this month the Scottish Government, in their National Planning Process, named the Nigg Bay Development as one of only 14 projects that they consider to be of national importance to Scotland.
Aberdeen harbour already generates business worth £1.5 billion to the North east and Scottish economies. And an independent report by Midlothian-based Biggar Economics, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, estimates the benefit of the development of a second harbour to the local and national economies to be in the region of £1 billion.
According to their findings, failure to expand the harbour would lead to a decrease of £500 million per annum to the Scottish economy by 2034, due to increased competition from abroad.
Colin Parker, chief executive of Aberdeen Harbour Board, welcomed the findings.
He said: “We are delighted that our project is being recognised for its full worth, both independently, and by the Scottish Government. As a trust port, our mission is to create a harbour that is fit for purpose for future generations, and which truly reflects our customers’ needs.
“We believe that a second harbour at Nigg Bay would fulfil both of these requirements. This report, and the support of the government, reinforces our belief that the development would provide significant economic rewards, not only for our customers, local communities, Aberdeen City and Shire, but for Scotland as a whole.”
Mr Parker continued: “The initial studies indicate that the £320 million development at Nigg Bay could create up to 1500 metres of deep-water quays. This increase in capacity is vital in order to accommodate the demands that the harbour is currently facing, whilst also positioning us to attract future traffic flows associated with the subsea and renewables sectors.”
He added: “The harbour at present is operating at near capacity. Over the past few years we have experienced increased demand from our customers and have developed, as far as possible, the existing infrastructure of the port.
“It is clear that additional capacity is required to retain this activity, and avoid losing this work to our overseas competitors, whilst also taking advantage of new opportunities in the subsea, cruise and renewable energy markets. That the development at Nigg Bay provides such benefits to the national economy only strengthens our belief in the far reaching value of the project for all concerned.”
Maggie McGinlay, the energy sector portfolio director at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Aberdeen Harbour is one of Europe’s leading marine support centres for offshore energy and makes a significant contribution to the Scottish Economy. Aberdeen Harbour links with over 40 countries across the world and plays a critical role in supporting Scotland’s oil and gas sector.
“The results of this research show that any additional capacity at the port would further support the oil and gas industry supply chain ensuring there is a long-term vibrant sector anchored in Scotland.”