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 In an exciting move creating employment opportunities and major inward foreign investment for the Highlands and Islands, Cromarty Firth Port Authority has signed a deal with Semco Maritime, which sees the Danish market-leading energy solutions provider establishing a rig refurbishment base in the Cromarty Firth.

Semco Maritime is an international project engineering company employing over 2,000 people and with more than 30 years’ experience facilitating the design, fabrication, service and maintenance of drilling rigs.

Cromarty Firth Port Authority (CFPA) is the owner of Scotland’s leading marine facility for rig projects, the Invergordon Service Base and has handled over 650 rig visits during its 40 years’ of operating.

This partnership brings to Invergordon international expertise, giving customers greater choice and will complement the existing facility by offering a deep and broad knowledge of rig upgrades and inspection, repair and maintenance capabilities.  Working together will combine the project engineering experience of Semco Maritime with the marine expertise of CFPA.

By choosing to invest in Invergordon, Semco Maritime has sent a clear signal to the worldwide rig market about the role Invergordon plays in the North sea oil and gas sector, as well as Semco Maritime’s position as a key player in that market.  

The announcement is being heralded as good news for the area.  Chief Executive of CFPA, Bob Buskie, said “After a career in the international oil & gas market, it is great to return home and support the inward investment plans of a highly respected, international drilling rig  player.  I am incredibly excited by this announcement, not just for the port, but for the supply chain companies who operate in Ross-shire and throughout the Highlands. By offering a wider choice of solutions for our customers, we are boosting the robustness of the Highlands energy sector, as well as creating opportunities for future growth.”

He continues “In order to support Semco Maritime’s activities, we are strengthening our position as a Services provider.  This means developing our capabilities in logistics, heavy lifting equipment and agency services, as well as facilities such as warehousing, office accommodation, and the provision of additional car parking.”

Andy Dodds, UK General Manager of Semco Maritime, said “Our UK division already employs over 50 people and is headquartered in Aberdeen.  As per January 27th, we will have expanded into Invergordon and will initially employ a permanent staff of 10 engineers, project leaders and ground personnel.”

He adds “Because of a tight time schedule and the demand for precise and accurate execution, rig upgrade is a highly manpower intensive operation, creating several hundreds of jobs when a rig is harboured for service.  Many of the jobs will be performed by local suppliers and skilled local labour, working closely with Semco Maritime’s own Rig Upgrade Specialist team.”

Senior Vice President Hans Peter Jørgensen, Semco Maritime said “We are delighted to be working with the Cromarty Firth Port Authority.  We have been successfully working jointly with ports in Norway, Denmark and as far afield as Vietnam, for many years.  Our investment of £5m will ensure we establish ourselves as a serious alternative to other rig repair companies.  We plan to make further investments as we grow our business.”

“The North Sea is a natural key market for Semco Maritime’s rig activities, which also include operations in The Mexican Gulf and Far East. Although the launch of a new facility in Invergordon expands the company’s combined rig upgrade capacity significantly, the facilities in Denmark and Norway are expected to maintain the current level of activity due to the increasing demand for rig upgrade in general”, says Hans Peter Jørgensen.

Hans Peter adds “Social responsibility is at the heart of all we do and any investment will take into account the impact on the town of Invergordon, with whom we are keen to establish a strong relationship with.”

Launch events are to be held in Aberdeen and Invergordon and will provide an opportunity for customers to find out more information
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