Ardersier Port near Inverness said it has received an initial £300 million investment commitment from US private equity firm Quantum to drive its redevelopment and “long-term transformation into a major energy transition facility.”
The port said the investment will accelerate work that has already begun to redevelop the port and unlock its potential to support the deployment of offshore wind installations and the decommissioning of the oil and gas infrastructure in the North Sea.
Redeveloping the port’s infrastructure and extending its quay will enable Ardersier to provide vital capacity and services to the offshore wind energy industry and the North Sea decommissioning programme.
Former BP executive Lewis Gillies has been appointed CEO of Haventus, Ardersier Port’s new parent company.
The scale and project timeline for the ScotWind programme — 28 GW of offshore generation capacity to be deployed in the next decade — demands major additional port capacity, according to the Floating Wind Offshore Wind Taskforce.
Clearing the North Sea of redundant oil and gas platforms will involve over 1.3 million tonnes of infrastructure being brought onshore over the next decade, according to Offshore Energies UK’s Decommissioning Insight report 2022.
Gillies said: “It is a privilege to be asked to take on the role of CEO.
“The investment will bring jobs and growth to the Highlands economy. Ardersier will provide a vital facility for the deployment of the offshore wind industry and enable the domestic decommissioning of redundant oil and gas assets.
“I am delighted to return to Scotland to lead this important project and look forward to working with Tony, Steve, and team to achieve Ardersier’s potential.”
Steve Regan and Tony O’Sullivan, Founders, Ardersier Port, said: “This investment by Quantum and securing the appointment of a CEO of Lewis’ calibre is a clear endorsement of our vision for Ardersier Port to transform a national asset into a key energy transition facility.”
“The site’s scale and geographical location means it is ideally positioned to become a leading European hub for offshore renewable energy.
“Lewis Gillies brings exceptional knowledge and experience, and cares deeply about the energy transition opportunity ahead for Scotland and the UK.”
Fergus Ewing, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Inverness & Nairn, said: “I warmly welcome the announcement of this major investment.
“The site has a long history in oil and gas fabrication. Now the investment will be in renewables. This will create opportunities in the Highlands especially for young people.
“I welcome the commitment to work with local communities. This planned investment also further strengthens the case for dualling the A96 from Inverness to Aberdeen.”