Port of Cromarty Firth (PCF) announced last night it had won two contracts, together worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, to support the Beatrice offshore windfarm project.
The deals with offshore contractor Seaway Heavy Lifting (SHL), a subsidiary of Subsea 7, will see work begin immediately.
PCF did not directly say how much the new contracts were worth, but revealed the value equated to about 10% of the port’s annual turnover.
Results from the Highlands’ largest port last November showed the Invergordon-based operation’s turnover totalled £7.7million during 2015.
Yesterday, port bosses said they had been working hard to attract projects amid the current oil and gas downturn.
PCF chief executive Bob Buskie added: “We are delighted to have won these high-level contracts which will help secure jobs in the firth.
“In light of the challenges in North Sea oil and gas, we have adapted our structure to focus more on new business development opportunities.
“These contracts demonstrate that this strategy is already delivering results.”
The £2.6billion, 84-turbine Beatrice development eight miles off the coast of Caithness in the Outer Moray Firth is the result of one of the largest private investments ever made in Scottish infrastructure.
It is being built by a partnership of Scottish energy firm SSE (40%), Denmark’s Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (35%) and China’s SDIC Power (25%).
SHL will use the port’s newest development, berth five, which was a £25million investment by the port to attract more work from the renewable-energy sector.
The new berth, part-funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the European Regional Development Fund, opened in December 2015 and was used for the Corriemoille onshore windfarm project last year.
PCF’S first contract for SHL involves berth and laydown space, while the second is for office accommodation.
Mr Buskie said: “It is fantastic that Seaway Heavy Lifting are using the new berth as we designed it with offshore renewable projects in mind.
“We know that the port is well placed for the Beatrice offshore windfarm, as demonstrated by other organisations in the Cromarty Firth successfully winning contracts.
“We’re hopeful that this new project will now lead to further contracts for companies operating in the firth.”
SHL project marine co-ordination manager Danny Sprangers said: “The port is perfectly positioned geographically for the Beatrice offshore windfarm.
“The companies based around the port have the skills and expertise we need to fulfil this project.”