By a Newsnet reporter
Local MSPs have welcomed the announcement that oil and gas company Aker Solutions will create 500 new jobs at its bases in Dyce and Portlethen. Aker, which specialises in extending the life-span of offshore platforms, already employs 2,700 people in Scotland. The 500 new jobs come on top of the 350 new Scottish posts announced by Aker last year.
The company said the jobs will be created over the next two years as it aims to grow its business by an average of between 9% and 15% a year until 2015. Aker Solutions is involved in subsea and drilling technology, and maintaining and upgrading North Sea oil platforms.
The news was announced during a visit by First Minister Alex Salmond to Norway, and came as Highland-based Global Project Services also revealed it was establishing its first permanent base in Norway.
Mr Salmond, who is currently in Norway on official business, said: “Aker Solutions is one of Norway’s flagship companies, with extensive global operations and already a huge presence in Scotland. I am delighted they now plan further investment and job creation in the city, delivering a great boost for the north east and wider Scottish economy.
“Our oil and gas sector remains a vitally important part of the economy, generating jobs and prosperity, and the Scottish government, Scottish Development International and our enterprise agencies are determined to support the ambitions of overseas investors and Scottish companies.”
He added: “As we prepare to launch our industry strategy at the end of this month, I am pleased to have the opportunity to discuss with the industry and government in Oslo how they are working to encourage ongoing prosperity across the Norwegian offshore industry, and how we can support similar continued success in Scotland.”
SNP MSP for Aberdeen Donside Brian Adam, whose constituency covers Aker’s Dyce site, said the news of the investment and job plans was a vital boost to the local economy.
He said: “Aker has long been a part of the local economy and this continuing investment is great news for the city – and indeed a good sign for our oil industry as a whole.
“The creation of 500 jobs is a tremendous boost to employment in the area and proves Aberdeen is absolutely open for business. It is also testament to the skilled workforce here.
“Aberdeen, and indeed Scotland, has long held strong ties with our Norwegian neighbours in the industry, and I am glad to see them further strengthened.”
SNP MSP for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine Maureen Watt, whose constituency covers Aker’s Portlethen site, welcomed the company’s commitment and said:
“Scotland’s oil and gas sector is flourishing with companies continuing to invest here – and will do so no matter what the constitutional status.
“Leif Borge, Aker President and Chief Financial Officer, said his company has a ‘proud heritage’ in Aberdeen and his objective is to ‘capitalise on the expected growth market’.
“This lays to rest the scaremongering from the anti-independence parties who claim there is uncertainty caused by the independence referendum.
“In fact, Mr Borge’s comments simply highlight the fact that Scotland’s oil and gas industry is continuing to attract substantial investments with thousands of jobs being created as a result.”