Energy giant BP said yesterday it had ordered four new platform-support vessels for the North Sea.
The major investment is expected to create about 65 jobs for crews working out of Aberdeen.
The ships being built in Korea are understood to come with a price tag totalling about £130million.
They are being bought by BP Shipping from Hyundai and will be leased to BP North Sea on a 15-year hire.
The vessels will be used on the company’s west-of-Shetland and Norwegian operations and be delivered between winter 2013 and summer 2014.
Two of the ships will work in UK waters.
A spokesman for BP said an operator has not yet been chosen for the vessels.
The ships will have an oilspill response capability and be able to transport chemicals needed to increase the amount of oil recovered from reservoirs.
BP North Sea regional president Trevor Garlick aid, “Our long-term commitment to the North Sea gives us the confidence to make major investments in vital support services.
“These new vessels will provide BP with a number of safety and commercial benefits, as well as allow for the greater deployment of technology.
“Improving our capability to recover more oil from our reservoirs is crucial to the future of the North Sea.”
Mark Hardie, UK logistics manager for BP’s North Sea region, said: “This is a significant investment in BP’s North Sea marine capability and will bring a number of business and local benefits from late 2013 onwards.
“The UK-dedicated vessels will be based and maintained in Aberdeen.”
BP is investing about £3billion in its North Sea business this year alone.
At the end of last year, it announced the start of what it said would be its largest period of investment in the UK North Sea after getting the go-ahead for its Clair Ridge project.
The £4.5billion scheme, with partners ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Shell, will see the life of the west of Shetland Clair field extended beyond 2050.
Chief executive Bob Dudley said at the time that it was a significant day in the history of the North Sea. He added: “Over the next few years we will be bringing on stream four new UK field developments, more than we have ever done over a comparable time period.
“These projects represent almost £10billion of new investment into the UK continental shelf by BP and its partners.
“That, of course, is in addition to the ongoing £1.5billion we invest annually to operate and maximise recovery from our existing fields and to maintain our platforms, plants and pipelines.”
The four field developments are Clair Ridge, the £550million central North Sea Devenick gas field project, the £3billion redevelopment of the west-of-Shetland Schiehallion and Loyal fields and the £700million development of Kinnoull in the central North Sea. Aberdeen is BP’s North Sea headquarters and this unit employs more than 3,500 people.