New owners of a former oil and gas fabrication yard in the Highlands have announced ambitious plans for reinventing the site.
Whiteness Head, between Ardersier and Nairn, is set to become an offshore renewables base with potential for major job creation.
It’s been bought by Essex-based firm Messiah Decommissioning from Edinburgh-based Clowes Developments for an undisclosed sum.
Clowes had purchased the site from administration in 2016 for £5m.
The former McDermott’s fabrication yard employed up to 4500 people in the 1970s, making it the largest private sector employer in the Highlands.
Thought to be the UK’s largest brownfield port, the 450-acre onshore and 340-acre offshore facility has been dormant for 20 years.
The previous owners had a vision for a new town including a marina and hotel, for which outline planning permission had been granted.
The latest ambition is to create “Europe’s leading decommissioning, floating wind, fixed wind and hydrogen facility”.
The new owners aim to use the site for the decommissioning of redundant oil and gas infrastructure and to support Scotland’s renewable energy sector.
In a statement, Tony O’Sullivan and Steve Regan, of Ardersier Port (Scotland), said: “The facility will accommodate multiple complementary work streams from decommissioning of oil and gas assets, recycling of wind turbines and production of sustainable aggregates and concrete, as well as offering extensive marine facilities for the upgrade and maintenance of existing assets.
“Dredging will commence this year and the port will be open in 2022.”