Malin Group plans marine technology hub on the banks of the Clyde

It is a vast brownfield site on the north bank of the Clyde that has lain empty for decades.

The former Carless oil refinery near Old Kilpatrick has lain empty since 1992. Picture: Contributed

Now ambitious plans could see a sprawling former oil refinery near the Erskine Bridge transformed into a leading marine technology hub.

Malin Group, a marine engineering firm based in Glasgow, has taken ownership of the Carless estate with a long-term view of bringing more high value marine design and build projects back to Clydeside.

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The former Carless refinery ­occupies a large site to the south-west of Old Kilpatrick, next to the Clyde in West ­Dunbartonshire. Oil refining operations ceased on the site in 1992 and it is now mostly vacant.

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John MacSween, managing director of Malin Group said: “The heritage of the Clyde is something we should be rightly proud of. We ourselves have been working on the river in the ­shipping industry for more than 100 years.

“But there is a need to be looking to the future as well to ensure the long term success of the Clyde as a ­maritime centre of excellence.

“There are already great examples of this in the form of what is being done at BAE Systems and Ferguson Marine in the shipbuilding sector. Training and ship management too are very well represented and the Department of Naval Architecture at Strathclyde University is a world-class centre for research and learning in the marine sector.

“What we are hoping to achieve at our Carless site is to compliment these activities and bring other ­clients, companies and interests to the region.

“We are looking to create a marine technology hub which brings together providers of research, skills, development, design, manufacturing and practical marine operational and logistics experience in a location that has complementary facilities backed by direct access to the deepwater channel of the Clyde.

“Due to its industrial heritage the land requires considerable remediation before it can be put to use. However, to exploit our positive heritage, we must address the ­negative. Simply leaving it until the economics stacked up for a housing development would have been a shame and, we feel, a real missed opportunity.”

Malin previously demonstrated its commitment to the river’s industrial heritage when it moved its head office into the renovated South Rotunda, one of the few original Clydeside buildings left in the city.