Nicola Sturgeon hails funding boost for Aberdeen harbour

Public cash towards the £350 million cost of harbour expansion plans in Aberdeen will help open up 'significant opportunities', Nicola Sturgeon said today.

Aberdeen harbour bosses said the funding boost was 'immensely significant'. Picture: Craig Stephen

The First Minister visited Aberdeen harbour as it was announced that Scottish Enterprise is to contribute £11.7m towards the redevelopment.

The project, which is due to be finished in 2020, will improve facilities at the site, benefiting the oil industry as well as the renewables market and growing numbers of visiting cruise ships.

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The expansion of the harbour could help create 2,300 jobs in the period up to 2026, according to the Scottish Government.

As well as the cash from Scottish Enterprise, the work is being funded with a loan of up to £175m from the European Investment Bank, together with £11m from Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils, as part of the area’s city region deal.

Sturgeon said: “Aberdeen Harbour is Scotland’s main oil and gas port and one of Europe’s leading marine support centres for offshore energy.

“This funding will open up significant opportunities to diversify and exploit the rapid growth in cruise tourism and the renewables markets in Scotland.

“We are already seeing Scottish-based firms seizing decommissioning opportunities, and we are committed to supporting Scottish industry to win further valuable contracts. That’s why we developed a decommissioning plan last year, and have since launched the £5m Decommissioning Challenge Fund.”

Scottish Enterprise director of energy Maggie McGinlay said: “The Aberdeen harbour expansion project is strategically important to the growth of Scotland’s economy. A recent impact assessment study confirms the project will not only help sustain growth in the oil and gas sector, but will also help to maximise opportunities from the growing cruise tourism and renewables sectors.”

Colin Parker, the outgoing boss of Aberdeen Harbour Board, said the funding from Scottish Enterprise is “immensely significant” as it “further demonstrates recognition of this strategic project as one of national and international importance”.

He added: “The facilities developed will transform the port’s ability to accommodate the trend for larger vessels we are witnessing across a whole range of industries, thereby encouraging commercial diversification and future-proofing the port’s ability to support large scale marine operations.”