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August 2002


Oil fabrication activity has finally come to a close at the Ardersier yard marking the end of an era.

There has been almost 30 years of activity at the site, near Nairn, which is owned and operated by J. Ray McDermott S.A. At its peak, there were over 3,000 staff employed at Ardersier constructing offshore platforms for the oil industry.

Spokesperson for J. Ray McDermott, Phil McBride said: "It is with the deepest regret that after 30 years of activity at the Ardersier facility, we have to announce that production at the yard has ceased. The situation has been prompted by a significant drop in the demand for fixed offshore platforms in the North Sea.

"Bidding for global fabrication work is not a viable option as the company is well placed to cater to our customer's global demands through its facilities in other parts of the world.

"Based on the low volume of work available at the present time, the yard operating on a care and maintenance status for the last two years and a profitable market not envisaged to have an upturn in the foreseeable future, we are now pursuing alternative uses for the site.

"In view of the situation we are working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Highland Council to identify potential opportunities and interested parties for the facility. No significant future losses are anticipated as a result of these actions."

Chief executive at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Sandy Cumming said: "We share the company's disappointment. It is extremely sad that work at the yard has now ceased but we have been aware of the market situation for some time.

"We realise that fabrication work no longer presents the Ardersier yard with opportunities, however, HIE will continue to work with J. Ray McDermott and our colleagues at The Highland Council to look at, and pursue alternative uses for the site."

Councillor Sandy Park, chairman of The Highland Council's Planning, Development, Europe and Tourism committee, said: "J. Ray McDermott has played a key role in the economy and life of the Inner Moray Firth area since the early 70's. Whilst it is a sad day, the cycle of North Sea oil fabrication work has moved on. We need to focus on the inheritance for the Highlands, which is a large strategic site with its own harbour facilities.

"I feel confident that working with the company, The Highland Council and HIE will find new enterprises able to capitalise on these assets and help diversify our future economy."

Two staff remain at Ardersier working on a care and maintenance basis.