Page last updated at 16:17 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 17:17 UK

Yard owners 'have plans' for site

Nigg oil yard
Nigg could be used for the construction of renewable energy devices

The US owners of the redundant Nigg oil yard in Easter Ross have plans to revive the site, according to Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy.

Mr Murphy visited the yard and met various parties interested in developing it for the construction of renewable energy devices.

Plans by KBR to sell the site have been held back by a dispute with owners of a strip of land it leases.

But Mr Murphy said the engineering giant now hoped to invest in Nigg.

He said: "I was delighted to hear today that the current owner hope to no longer have to sell the site, but actually want to invest in it now."

KBR were not available to comment.

In July, DSM Demolition set out its plans to Highland Council for breaking ships at the yard.

The local authority has previously said it would take legal action to take over Nigg so new jobs could be created for the region.

Opened in the early 70s, Nigg was used for the construction of platforms for the North Sea oil and gas industry.

It has one of the largest dry docks in Europe, 45,570 sq m of covered workshop and almost 70 acres of yard space.

It was once an economic powerhouse in the Highlands, employing 5,000 people and building some of the biggest offshore structures the world had ever seen.

But as North Sea oil development dwindled away so did the market for production platforms.

KBR and the Wakelyn Trust have been in disagreement over its sale.

The engineering company is tied into the long-term lease for the southern part from the trust.

They have so far failed to agree a price for the lease to be bought out, which would open the way for the site to be sold.

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