Dutch firm Boskalis has opened a bigger office and brought in a new dive support vessel as part of a UK North Sea expansion drive.
Boskalis moved into the base in Westhill on February 1, having previously had an office in Queen’s Gardens, Aberdeen.
Sander Korte, business unit director for subsea services at Boskalis, said Aberdeen was a “very important city” with many potential clients.
He said Boskalis wanted to support those customers from a local base.
The new location will have space for 10 to 15 employees.
The company is looking to fill those positions with local workers specialising in a range of disciplines, including business development, project management, operational support, diving and engineering.
At present, about three people are based at the Westhill office.
Furthermore, Boskalis bought the BOKA Atlantis vessel to support the company’s efforts to scoop up more work in the UK North Sea.
Mr Korte said: “We identified that we needed bigger vessels, so we bought Atlantis late last year.
“It gives us the opportunity to offer offshore services to UK operators that have activities in the central and northern North Sea where the environment is harsher.”
“Atlantis is the ideal tool for that part of the North Sea.”
The vessel will operate out of the east coast of Scotland, though the choice of home port has yet to be finalised.
The ship is currently in Rotterdam, where its dive support systems are being upgraded.
That work should be completed next month, allowing Atlantis to sail to Scotland.
Boskalis has also added the BOKA Da Vinci dive support vessel to its fleet. It is currently operating in the Gulf of Mexico.
Mr Korte said Boskalis’ primary focus would be on inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) work, but that the company also intends to do shallow water construction jobs.
“For our company to be successful long term, we need IRM and construction projects,” he said at Subsea Expo 2018 in Aberdeen.
“IRM work continues but at a slow pace, while construction is slowly picking up.
“It’s still a very tough market. There is too much supply and not enough demand.
“But we believe in this market. We have invested a lot of money here for the long term.”
He added: “When Boskalis steps into something, we go all the way.
“We accept there will be short term challenges, but we expect the market to pick up. We will find our position.”