Ardersier’s dormant fabrication yard is set to take on a new life as one of Europe’s most important locations for renewable energy and decommissioning, according to its new owners.
Business partners Tony O’Sullivan and Steve Regan have acquired the former McDermott fabrication site from Clowes Developments for an undisclosed sum.
One of the largest brownfield ports in the UK, Ardersier – on the Moray Firth between Inverness and Nairn – has been identified as one of just three UK east coast sites with the size, scale, shape, and location capable of being an offshore renewable energy hub.
The port comprises of 450 acres onshore and a further 340 acres offshore.
The new owners aim to use the site for both the decommissioning of redundant oil and gas infrastructure and to support Scotland’s renewable energy sector by providing fabrication and logistics facilities for offshore and fixed wind developments, as well as catering for other green energy developments such as green hydrogen.
O’Sullivan and Regan explained: “Using circular economy practices the facility will accommodate multiple complementary work streams from decommissioning of oil and gas assets, recycling of wind turbines, production of sustainable aggregates and concrete, large scale manufacturing, offshore wind logistics and fabrication, sustainable energy production as well as offering its extensive marine facilities for the upgrade and maintenance of existing assets.
“Dredging will commence this year and the port will be open in 2022.”
Gordon Arthur, director at Clowes Developments, commented: “We are delighted to complete the deal which will no doubt see the site prosper within the renewable energy market.
“The port’s location, expanse and direct access to the North Sea presents a wealth of opportunities and we wish its new owners every success in their endeavours.”
Ardersier Port was opened by US engineering group McDermott in 1972, at its height the fabrication yard employed as many as 4,500 staff at its peak, making it the largest private sector employer in the Highlands.
A fall in demand led to the facility’s closure in 2001.
In 2007, Highland Council approved ambitious plans for a 1,950 home development, along with a marina, hotel, visitor centre and community facilities including a primary school.
In 2016, Clowes Developments purchased the site from administration for £5m.
The authorities have more recently backed the port’s potential as a site for renewables-related development as part of the Scottish Government’s national renewables infrastructure plan.
This presented viable options for buyers like O’Sullivan and Regan to pursue their vision and aspirations for the site within the renewable energy sector.
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