Referendum no bar to investment says CEO

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THE CHIEF executive of a major new investor in Scotland’s oil and gas industry said the sector would remain attractive regardless of the outcome in the independence referendum.
 
Clough Limited, an Australian based oil and gas contractor, yesterday announced the creation of 110 jobs at their new regional office in Bellshill, Glasgow.

Kevin Gallagher, Clough’s Scottish-born CEO, said: “One of the things I’m very proud about is Scotland’s long association and history of engineering excellence and capability.

“The proximity here to very strong universities, a very strong skill pool, world leading engineering capabilities across the maritime, the oil and gas, and even mining industries, allows us to tap into those skills and capabilities to support our global operations.”

Asked how confident he would be operating in an independent Scotland, Mr Gallagher said: “When we make decisions like this as part of our strategy, we take a long term view, and Scotland’s history of engineering capability and prowess is not something that’s going to change overnight, no matter what political environment we end up operating in.

“Our view is one that is taking long-term outcomes in mind, and is not being determined by short termism,” he said.

The opening of the Clough’s Glasgow office forms part of the group’s international expansion strategy, serving operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The project has received £1.5m in government funding through Scottish Enterprise’s Regional Service Assistance scheme.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claimed the investment underlined continuing confidence in the sector: “It’s not so long ago that George Osborne was saying that the very fact of having a referendum would stop companies investing in Scotland.

“Here today we have a real life example of a company investing in Scotland regardless of the referendum, because they are confident in Scotland’s future,” she added.

Mr Gallagher said Scotland was the “most attractive” location for Clough, due to “access to world class technical universities and highly experienced engineering resources, combined with its proximity to clients and opportunities in the North Sea, Europe, Middle East and Africa.”

Clough Limited, which reported post-tax net profits of $73.9m (£44.4m) in their 2013 full year results, now plan to launch a graduate recruitment scheme in Scotland.