Scrabster Harbour Trust has announced delivery of the first phase of its wide-ranging harbour redevelopment programme aimed at providing logistical support for the oil and gas developments on the Atlantic Frontier, and the marine renewable opportunities in the Pentland Firth.
The strategic vision, announced in 2007, is aimed at redeveloping and dramatically expanding the inner harbour area (Phase 1), acquisition and development of back-up land, and finally the creation of new infrastructure in the port’s deep water basin (Phase 2).
The programme of infrastructure and facilities improvement complements Scrabster’s strategic geographic location as the most northerly mainland commercial port.
The Caithness port is ideally situated as a hub for offshore exploration support West of Shetland, on the Atlantic Frontier and in the waters surrounding the Faroes Islands.
Using Scrabster delivers higher vessel utilisation, reduced downtime and significantly lowers costs. Existing port users, including offshore companies and service contractors, have already recognised the enormous benefits to be gained by utilising the port. Delivery of the enhanced infrastructure and services, will enable the port to realise its full potential.
Phase One of the programme, the redevelopment of the Old Fishmarket Pier, delivers an additional 330 metres of sheltered deepwater berthing. An additional 11,500 square metres of quayside lay-down area and dedicated heavy lift facilities has been created, supported by an enhanced range of services including fuel and water at each berth. The new quay is accessed through an approach channel dredged to -7.5 Chart Datum with the same water depth alongside the new Southern and Tanker berths.
The physical works started in August 2011 and are scheduled for handover at the beginning of this month. The multi-funded development received support from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, European Regional Development Fund, Highland and Island Enterprise and European Fisheries Fund
The trust’s expansion plans are underpinned by the strategic acquisition of 14 hectares of land in 2008, adjacent to the harbour and zoned for industrial development. The area has also been designated by Scottish Government as an Enterprise Area. The next step is to develop an industrial estate to accommodate both primary clients and their supporting businesses. The initial development stage will see the creation of improved road access, lighting and drainage. When completed, this additional land will provide a “blank canvas”, offering a wide range of options to support value added activities at the port. Feasibility studies to progress the phase 2 development will start shortly.
The port is also the gateway to the network of onshore services essential to oil and gas. Businesses in the area are gearing up to capitalise on the opportunities presented by development of the port. Since the foundation of the ground-breaking nuclear power facility at Dounreay and the discovery of North Sea Oil, businesses in Caithness have been at the vanguard of the energy industry, gaining invaluable knowledge and technical expertise in a diverse range of activities. Decades of experience in oil and gas and nuclear power are combining to create an unparalleled skills bank with the capacity to meet the demands of the new oil and gas era.