Angus centre of excellence targets global oil industry

Oilfield services group Baker Hughes is to pump more than £30 million into its Montrose operation in a move that is expected to create 100 jobs.

The new campus is set to benefit from advanced manufacturing tools and processes, designed to improve efficiency and productivity. Picture: Ross Johnston/Newsline Media

The firm’s “factory of the future” will provide cutting-edge products and services for oil and gas projects around the world.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled £4.9m in funding as part of the £31m investment being made by Baker Hughes, a GE company.

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The funding package – provided to the company following an application to Scottish Enterprise – will support the transformation of the existing Angus facility, creating a centre of excellence to support the global oil and gas industry.

The new campus is set to benefit from advanced manufacturing tools and processes, designed to improve efficiency and productivity.

These include virtual reality tools to help technicians troubleshoot issues before construction begins, automation to boost efficiency on activities such as welding, testing and material-handling, and 3D printers to help quickly develop fully-functional prototypes of components and complex structures.

Graham Gillies, vice president, subsea production systems & services at Baker Hughes GE (BHGE), said: “This is very welcome news for the oil and gas industry, and for the UK manufacturing sector in particular.

“We are investing in our facilities globally and our collaborative approach with Scottish Enterprise is a strong example of how we are supporting a more sustainable future for this industry.

“Subsea technology is undoubtedly one of the UK’s greatest export success stories, with industry-leading technology and solutions being designed and manufactured here, and installed across basins worldwide.”

He added: “The downturn has been immensely tough for all industry players and the world we operate in has fundamentally changed.

“We have to challenge ourselves to find more efficient, smarter ways to reduce cost and increase productivity, driving greater value for our customers.

“We also need to develop the skills of our existing workforce, and bring on the future generations to ensure we are well-positioned and ready to adopt the new ways of working demanded by a pioneering digital manufacturing environment.”

Paul Lewis, managing director, Scottish Enterprise, added: “Scotland’s oil and gas industry, and in-particular the subsea sector, is in the vanguard of global industrial development in this field and BHGE is at the forefront.

“We are pleased to be able to support this exciting project which is testament to BHGE’s vision and ambition, and the company’s skilled and talented workforce here in Scotland.”