North Sea oil operators dive in to rescue The Underwater Centre and save 50 Highlands jobs

The Underwater Centre at Fort William as seen from the air.
The Underwater Centre at Fort William as seen from the air.

A consortium of North Sea energy companies have dived in to save The Underwater Centre from commercial collapse – safeguarding around 50 jobs.

The company will now operate as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, which will be funded and supported by its members, comprising operators, service companies and industry. 

Oil & Gas UK, Subsea 7, Technip FMC, Premier Oil and a Scot-Govt job-creation quango stepped in to support the Fort William-based centre, with the private-sector companies take a seat on the board of The Underwater Centre.

The Underwater Centre is a purpose-built subsea training and trials facility and is based on the shore of Loch Linnhe, sheltered by the surrounding mountains.  Its unique location allows it to provide year-round training and testing in an open-water environment.

David McGhie, Managing Director of The Underwater Centre, commented: “The centre is of crucial importance to the North Sea industry as one of only two centres in Europe which provides closed bell diver training – a skill set which is vital to the North Sea sector.

“We are delighted that the industry and Scottish Government have collaborated to ensure the future of the centre. This genuinely positive collaboration will help to increase the value we can offer our customers and the entire industry in the future.

 “As a not-for-profit company, any surplus will be reinvested in improving quality and maintaining high standards and in new equipment and technology to support testing and trials, keeping us at the forefront globally.”

Stuart Wheaton, Premier Oil’s UK business unit manager, added: “As a UK offshore operator, we are all too aware of just how important a centre like this is for the long-term health of the UK’s subsea sector and in ensuring that the highest of standards are maintained.”

10 May 2018

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