Port of Nigg has unveiled its new East Quay following a multimillion-pound investment to increase capacity and put it among the top deepwater harbours in the UK.
At 738ft long and 164ft wide, the new facility takes Nigg’s deepwater quayside capacity to more than 3,900ft.
It is expected to be a game changer for the port, allowing it to service multiple large scale energy sector projects simultaneously.
And it means Nigg can have the necessary infrastructure in place to accommodate the requirements of future floating offshore wind sector opportunities.
The new quay has already welcomed its first vessel, the Boa Sub C, which is loading out structures fabricated at the port for the oil and gas industry.
Port of Nigg facilities director Rory Gunn said: “Our new East Quay helps us better service our existing customer’s needs, in the renewables, oil and gas, and nuclear sectors.
“The enhanced capabilities will assist us to attract inward investment, with a vision to create long-term skilled manufacturing jobs.”
Mr Gunn said the port could become a national “hub” for the renewables industry.
He added: “Operationally, the additional quay and associated laydown area provides us with a lot of flexibility, and this multimillion-pound investment is further evidence of our commitment to ensure our facility is best-in-class for meeting both existing and future industry demands.”
The new quay will also be a “huge selling point” for the port when tendering for the next generation of floating offshore wind projects, he said.
Fabrication and assembly work on floating hulls can be done on South Quay, while wind turbine integration onto foundation structures is done on East Quay, he added.
The port is owned and run by Inverness-based Global Energy Group (GEG). It boasts some of the largest construction and assembly shops in Europe, a large dry dock and expansive laydown areas.
Bosses say these, together with a proven track record and skilled multi-disciplined workforce are the reasons Nigg is fast becoming “the principle Scottish port for supporting the renewables industry and Scotland’s efforts towards a net-zero economy.”
Boost for Cromarty Firth green freeport bid
GEG founder and chairman Roy MacGregor said: “I can’t underestimate what a huge benefit the new East Quay will be to the Port of Nigg and its supply chain, and what an enhancement the development is to the Cromarty Firth’s bid for green freeport status.
“The increase of our deepwater quayside capacity to over 1,200m provides the necessary infrastructure for supporting the next generation of floating offshore wind, at a time when the SOWEC (Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council) report and other major studies have identified the Cromarty Firth as the only location in the UK with the physical characteristics and port facilities that could feasibly support their development.”
The port’s investment in East Quay was supported by Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the Scottish Government.
HIE chief executive Stuart Black said: “The Highlands and Islands region has many natural advantages for renewable energy development and the transition to a net-zero economy, and our ports and harbours have a vital role to play.
“Port of Nigg has been a key player in the energy sector for many years, particularly in the growth of renewables. We are very pleased to have supported the development of this new facility, which will benefit the region’s economy for many years to come.”