Chinese firm announces plans to locate UK HQ on Dundee waterfront

The Port of Dundee is trying to establish itself as a decommissioning hub.
The Port of Dundee is trying to establish itself as a decommissioning hub.

Dundee’s nascent decommissioning sector has been given a major boost after a Chinese company announced it intends to base its UK operations in the city.

The Chinese Ocean Engineering Shanghai Company (COES) revealed it intends to set up its UK headquarters on the Waterfront when the company’s president Hong Chong met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Shanghai on Thursday.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I welcome the announcement that COES intends to establish a base in Scotland.

“Throughout my visit to China I have been travelling with the message that Scotland is a fantastic place to invest and do business. I look forward to hearing more details of COES’s plans in due course.”

A delegation from the company visited Dundee in November where they discussed decommissioning opportunities with council administration leader John Alexander.

The SNP councillor said: “From the outset, I very clearly stated the need to be determined and proactive in bringing opportunities to our doorstep.

“Investment and jobs will not simply land on our lap, we need a dogged determination to ensure that we engage with, promote and encourage businesses to make Dundee their home.

“I’m absolutely delighted that COES have set out their ambition to create a decommissioning project base here in our dynamic and growing city following the hosting of a senior delegation in November 2017.”

Representatives from the firm meeting council leader John Alexander last year.

Mr Alexander said the announcement offers a huge boost to the city’s hopes of becoming a major centre for oil decommissioning work.

He said: “Whilst some have knocked our decommissioning credentials, I think it’s clear that there are huge opportunities for Dundee and that we are not resting on our laurels to land them.

“We know that the value of decommissioning is spread across a number of elements and we want Dundee to be the go-to for everything above and below the sea.

“We want Dundee to be to decommissioning, what Aberdeen is for oil & gas exploration. We’ll be taking nothing for granted over the coming months and years and will continue to work hard to deliver skilled jobs for locals.”

Dundee City Council, Forth Ports and Dc Thomson collaborated to create DundeeCom – a local organisation which was co-funded and set up to secure decommissioning work.

COES is a Chinese state owned company, globally recognised for providing more than 60 years of service to the marine construction and offshore industry.

It specialises in offshore construction and decommissioning, ocean going towage, salvage and wreck removal.

It is understood the firm has been looking for a suitable location on Scotland’;s east coast that will offer the capability of serving offshore markets in the UK, Norwegian and Dutch sectors.

Once the firm wins decommissioning contracts, it will then recruit workers.

Latest forecast estimates from the industry trade association Oil and Gas UK put decommissioning expenditure at £17 Billion on the UK continental shelf alone covering the period through until 2025.

Forecast annual decommissioning spend on the Norwegian and Dutch sectors is put at between £400 – £800 Million and £650-£800 Million respectively.