UK oil and gas sector bosses have praised Balmoral Group for its brave investment in world-class subsea testing capabilities.
Balmoral took a bold leap with its commitment to spending £20 million on the base during one of the worst downturns in the oil industry’s history.
At that time, most companies were focused on slashing costs and laying off workers.
But Balmoral managing director Jim Milne wanted to make sure the company would be ready to take advantage when the downturn lifted.
Now officially open, the firm’s new centre in Aberdeen has cemented the region’s place as a global leader in underwater engineering and technology, industry leaders said.
And they hailed the ultra-deepwater test facility as a “step in the right direction” towards realising Vision 2035.
Vision 2035 is the UK oil industry’s target of generating £920 billion worth of revenue for the economy over the next 17 years.
Of that total, £500bn would come from the UK supply chain increasing its turnover by capturing a larger share of export markets.
The UK oil industry has applied to the UK Government for a sector deal, which would help deliver that part of the “vision”.
The sector deal proposes the creation of three new centres of excellence, one of which would be dedicated to underwater engineering.
Subsea UK chief executive Neil Gordon, who attended the official launch, said: “Subsea UK welcomes the opening of this test centre and its addition to the UK’s portfolio of world-class subsea facilities.
“It’s great to see this kind of innovative investment which helps to advance the subsea capabilities of Scotland and the UK, and secures our position as world-leader in underwater engineering and technology across all sectors including oil and gas, marine renewables, offshore wind, defence and oceanology.”
Oil and Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie said: “It was great to see what is a fantastic new facility not only for Balmoral, but for the subsea sector it serves.
“This is another positive step in the right direction towards realising Vision 2035, and demonstrates the ingenuity the UK supply chain has to offer global markets.”
Aberdeen Lord Provost Barney Crockett said the base was an example of a Granite City business leading the world under the inspirational guidance of Jim Milne.
“There’s no one in the north-east with more drive and entrepreneurial spirit than Jim,” Mr Crockett said.
“We saw that with the wholehearted endorsement of the new centre from Prince Charles.
“Anyone visiting would be impressed, but his interest in north-east industry and the wider world of energy was very clear.”