Oil sector boost as Chinese firm sets up new Heriot Watt hub

Heriot Watt will host the hub. Picture: Contributed
Heriot Watt will host the hub. Picture: Contributed
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Scotland’s embattled oil and gas sector has received a boost after a Chinese firm which ­specialises in geosciences opened a base north of the Border.

The company, iRes-Geo Technology, said it aimed to expand its North Sea and ­global business and will ­initially create ten jobs with plans to see its Scottish operation at Heriot Watt University’s Research Park grow into a “substantial hub”.

Bosses are looking to tap into Scotland’s strengths in the “subsurface” engineering market while maximising opportunities in exploration, appraisal, development and field maturation projects. It is a shot in the arm for a ­sector battling with the slump in the oil price and a downturn in exploration and support work, leading to thousands of job losses.

READ MORE: North Sea oil and gas ‘must not waste a good crisis’

Chairman and founder of iRes-Geo, Yi Huang, who is a former reservoir geophysicist at Statoil and a graduate of Heriot Watt, said: “We have set up a new office in Edinburgh to support our North Sea and ­global expansion plans.

“To date we have created three positions, two of which are high value jobs, and we’re actively recruiting in ­Scotland.” China is a key ­market for Scotland’s oil and gas sector both for inward investment opportunities and international activities.

Last year, the world’s second largest economy was listed in the supply chain’s top ten nations for growth opportunities in both the immediate future and over the next five years.

Scottish Development International (SDI) said it had played an instrumental role in supporting the company’s move to Scotland, providing advice, guidance and ­support to help secure the inward investment.

David Rennie, international sector head at SDI, said: “Today’s announcement is welcome news for Scotland’s oil and gas sector and reinforces our worldwide reputation as being a global hub for oil and gas activity.

“Our skills, experience and expertise together with our world-class training facilities and strengths in innovation made Scotland the location of choice for iRes-Geo. Despite the current challenges, that we are all aware of, investments such as these demonstrate that we are still seen as an attractive long-term location.”