Orkney marine specialist Leask Marine, backed with the grant from Scottish Enterprise, has started developing submersible drilling rig suitable for highly turbulent marine conditions as it aims to grow its commercial opportunities in the offshore renewable energy market.
Leask Marine will invest £1.5 million in its R&D project, financed partly by a grant of almost £490,000 as contribution from Scottish Enterprise towards the project costs, according to Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) – which is also supporting the project.
The project will enable the company to design, manufacture, assemble and test the viability of a submersible drilling rig suitable for highly turbulent marine conditions, HIE said.
Leask Marine aims to target commercial opportunities in the offshore renewable energy market in Orkney and beyond with the new drilling rig, said to be a cost effective and easily transported solution.
The company has also purchased a Mobile Marine Test Platform (MMTP) and other equipment with support of a £70,000 grant from HIE.
The Numitor is a 30-meter steel pontoon which will serve as a working platform and is available for charter for the renewable energy industry, marine construction or harbor maintenance.
Graeme Harrison, area manager at HIE’s Orkney area team, said: “Scotland continues to be a world leader in the development and support of wave and tidal energy technologies.
“The availability of an MMTP in Orkney will be a complementary service to the innovative drilling rig being developed by the company and will cement its position as an important supply chain partner in this sector, further strengthening Orkney and Scotland’s global reputation.”
Leask Marine employs 38 people in Kirkwall in Orkney, which has played a key role in Scotland’s growth of wave and tidal energy technologies.
Orkney is home to the world’s most powerful floating tidal turbine as well as the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) – the world’s first grid-connected wave and tidal test center.