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Energy giants sign up to £100m business park


THREE oil and gas industry giants have signed up to a proposed £100million business park in Aberdeen – a move they say will safeguard 1,200 jobs and pave the way for the creation of many more.

Apache North Sea and Nexen Petroleum UK have already submitted planning applications for 100,000sq ft headquarters at the Prime Four energy complex at Kingswells.

Transocean Drilling UK will lodge proposals for a similar-sized British HQ and global training centre within the next few weeks.

The developer behind the scheme, Drum Property Group, said the three firms would pump £300million a year into the local economy and act as a catalyst for further growth.

The details were revealed to the Press and Journal yesterday as industry analysts called for greater investment in the North Sea to equip future generations with the skills necessary to secure an extra £376billion in oil and gas revenues.

The Scottish Government said the announcement proved the sector had a key role to play in generating jobs, skills and revenue for decades to come.

Industry body Oil and Gas UK said the deal underlined confidence in the future of the North Sea and the skills and expertise of the workforce in the north-east.

If planning permission is granted, work could start on building the new offices, roads and services early next year.

The aim is to complete the first phase of the complex, next to the proposed Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and the existing park and ride site, by mid-2013.

Drum director Graeme Bone said the group was delighted to have attracted companies with the stature and reputation of Apache, Nexen and Transocean to Prime Four.

“The level of interest we have experienced from major multinational concerns supports our long-held view that there is strong demand within the industry for accommodation befitting Aberdeen’s status as the energy capital of Europe,” he said.

“These applications mean that the first phase of Prime Four is pre-let. Our economic consultants have estimated that this phase – when fully operational – will sustain around 1,200 jobs locally and be worth £300million a year to the local economy.

“The long-term nature of the commitments at Prime Four anchors many billions of pounds of economic output and thousands of jobs in Aberdeen for years to come. This is a very significant development, not just in local terms but also for Scotland generally.”

James L House, region vice-president and managing director of Apache North Sea, said: “Our recently-announced acquisition of the Beryl field and related assets will significantly expand Apache’s operations in the North Sea and heralds a new period of growth.

“Prime Four represents a very positive environment for our new, combined team. Our decision to locate there underlines our ongoing commitment to the UK continental shelf and the north-east of Scotland.”

Apache already operates the Forties field, the largest oil field discovered in the North Sea.

Development of the Bacchus field is also under way, with the first production currently expected around the end of this year.

Bob Fennell, director of operations for Nexen Petroleum UK, said: “The UK North Sea is a key producing area for us, and we are continuing to actively explore in the region.

“Prime Four provides us with an excellent world-class base for the long term.”

Nexen’s developments in the UK North Sea include the Buzzard, Scott/Telford and Ettrick operations, as well as the upcoming Golden Eagle project, which is expected to begin producing in 2014 and create jobs for more than 2,000 workers.

Once operational the new base is expected to employ more than 400 people.

Adrian Rose, managing director of Transocean Drilling UK, said: “Our staff are currently at a number of locations in Aberdeen and we have been looking for some time at bringing them closer together.

“Prime Four affords us a tremendous opportunity to achieve much better integration while expanding our purpose-built training centre, which will continue to fulfil a global role within Transocean.”

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