Weekly update, 29th September

Energy & Business services:

A very successful event was held in Aberdeen this week as part of the ongoing delivery of the Inward Investment Marketing Plan for Caithness & North Sutherland (see communications below for details). The event was facilitated by Subsea UK, the trade body for a sector with around 750 companies. HIE’s Roy Kirk, Willie Watt of Subsea 7 and Walter Robertson of the Norsea Group provided key presentations, together with Audrey Banner of DECC’s oil & gas team. The very clear message from industry speakers and from event chairman Neil Gordon, CEO of Subsea UK, was that servicing the “Atlantic Frontier” will require different ways of doing business, and Caithness provides a compelling case for cost-effective delivery of solutions. The Caithness solution is the subject of a two page feature in Subsea UK’s latest magazine (http://issuu.com/subseauk/docs/9829-subseauk-news-sep14-issuu/0), and will also be the subject of a follow-up opportunity for oil & gas companies to visit Caithness on Tuesday 28th October and see at first hand the facilities on offer. The one day visit will make use of the 35 minute flight time from Aberdeen to Wick. Companies wishing to book a place should email lindsay.foord@hient.co.uk for more details.

Good to see staff from Thurso’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI) helping Pelamis Wave Power crew redeploy wave measurement buoys at the site of the proposed Pelamis wave development at Farr Point off the north coast of Sutherland. http://www.pelamiswave.com/news/news/172/Wave-measurement-buoys-redeployed-at-Farr-Point-wave-site

Enabling activities:

A busy week of CNSRP meetings this week, with the CNSRP Advisory Board meeting on Thursday and the Executive Board meeting on Friday. Members reflected on what has been a summer of very encouraging progress, with key announcements from Atlantis Resources (Meygen), Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (Wick harbour O&M) and Wick John O’Groats airport (new helicopter hangar). Members also welcomed the first signs of success from the inward investment programme led by HIE with support from DSRL and Highland Council.

CNSRP partner Skills Development Scotland is hosting a major event in Wick this week. The “UCAS Expanding Horizons” event featured representatives from a number of UK universities and Higher Education establishments, as well as sectoral representation and local agency/ business presence. The event, which is primarily aimed at senior school pupils, attracted over 350 attendees from schools across the Highland Council area.

Another step forward has been taken for plans to build the National Nuclear Archive at Wick, with the publication this week of the pre-qualification process for building contractors. Meanwhile the NDA continues to procure a commercial partner for the project, with that process expected to conclude in early 2015. More details of the pre-qualification process are at http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2014/09/29/bid-race-starts-for-17m-national-nuclear-archive/

Communications:

As part of an ongoing process of helping communicate progress with the delivery of aspects of our economic transition programme CNSRP’s partners work together to generate news stories for local, regional and national media. I also speak on a regular basis to individuals and organisations across the area to update on progress. This week: