A premier deep-water offshore energy location based at the Port of Blyth, is celebrating its first year.
Located on the Blyth Estuary, Energy Central is a fully operational hub made up of world-leading organisations, skills and infrastructure, making it one of Europe’s outstanding investment destinations for those operating in the oil and gas, offshore wind, telecoms and decommissioning industries.
Several key partners including Arch, Port of Blyth, the Offshore Renewable Catapult and Northumberland County Council, have come together to help promote and maximise growth and investment opportunities to support the established energy sector hub in Northumberland.
Over the last twelve months the area has gone from strength to strength including EDF Energy Renewables’ investment into offshore wind farm off the coast of Blyth as well as the development of the North Sea Link project with Statnett and National Grid working together to construct an electricity interconnector between Norway and the UK creating the world’s longest subsea interconnector landing in Blyth.
Deepocean, supported by the Port of Blyth, has undertaken the mobilisation of the subsea interconnector between Belgium and the UK, known as the Nemo link and Northumberland based engineering specialists Osbit Ltd has delivered the offshore industry’s first height adjustable boat landing system for a jack-up vessel to Gulf Marine Services UK Ltd, which was fabricated and assembled at Osbit’s facility at the Port of Blyth.
Arch have also a reached a significant milestone this year in the progress to make Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 (the former Blyth Power Station site) more accessible to the offshore Sector. This catalyst site, within the wider Energy Central area, comprises the former Blyth Power Station and the former Ash Barge Dock which has remained derelict since the power station was demolished.
Arch secured funding from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) to invest in the dock to upgrade it to allow larger vessels to berth, and are currently securing a contractor to undertake the approved works. These include the deepening and widening of the former Ash Barge dock. Four contractors have been invited to tender and negotiations over the summer are expected to lead to an award of contract this Autumn/Winter 2018. It is expected that the contract will be for circa £19m and will commence on site early 2019. The works will take approximately 18 months to complete. Further information will be presented in a public meeting to be scheduled in Cambois in September/October 2018.
Cllr Richard Wearmouth Chair of Arch, said: "It has been a fantastic first 12 months for Energy Central, providing a solid platform for inward investment and growth of the established offshore energy cluster and for future years to come. The Northumberland Energy Park site is ideal for offshore energy sector businesses looking to locate and grow in an area that offers benefits including an experienced and ready-made skills base, Enterprise Zone status and a £25m investment to add a new deep-water dock."
“More widely, Energy Central brings together a number of quay-linked development sites, with access to extensive Port expertise, investment incentives, world class R&D facilities, and national energy infrastructure; underpinned by access to a readymade flexible skills base, a highly connected location and a recognised offshore energy and fabrication cluster”.