New jobs will be created with the building of a fuel storage facility at one of the region’s fastest-growing ports.
Port of Blyth and marine fuels supplier the Geos Group are building the facility at the Bates Terminal, Blyth.
The initial phase, costing more than £5m, will see the construction of three storage tanks by the middle of next year, with a capacity of over 15 million litres. Further expansion is planned.
This development is the first at the Enterprise Zone in the River Blyth estuary and has been backed by Arch, the Northumberland development company, which has provided investment through the Regional Growth Fund and other assistance through its Northumberland Business Growth Programme.
Initially 20 jobs are being created but there are high hopes that more could be on the way if the marine fuel bunkering facility attracts the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors.
Port of Blyth chief executive Martin Lawlor said: “This is excellent news and reaffirms our position as a growing offshore energy hub.
“Given our excellent deep-water facilities and prime location, we believe others will follow to join the significant cluster of organisations within the sector already established around the estuary.”
Geos Group managing director Barry Newton added: “We are delighted that the construction of our new marine fuel storage facility in the Port of Blyth is now under way which will enhance our services to existing and new customers operating in the North Sea and beyond.
“We chose Blyth for its strategic location and ambitious expansion plans and look forward to working with the port and regional partners during an exciting period of growth.”
The Geos Group is a marine fuel supplier with a £200m turnover, providing storage, supply and logistics solutions. Based in Henley-on-Thames, the company supplies fuel to all sectors of the marine and offshore industries.
Arch Group managing director Peter McIntyre said: “We are pleased to see the first development on the Enterprise Zone around the Blyth Estuary bringing new jobs to Northumberland and hopefully helping to attract further investment to our prime sites.”
Port of Blyth is a rapidly-expanding trust port, handling up to 2 million tonnes a year. It has a growing reputation for servicing the offshore energy sector.
Its new fuel storage facility is the latest development at the port which last year recorded sales of £17m for the first time, despite losing its biggest customer, Rio Tinto Alcan.
Earlier this year, Lawlor said: “We’re the port of choice for Northern England for the import of wind turbines for onshore energy and our biggest growth last year was the oil and gas sector.”
He revealed that several large schemes were set to hugely increase the size of the port, which employs 110 full-time workers and up to 40-50 contract workers on any given day. The RES Group is looking to build a £300m-£350m biomass power station there, and another biomass scheme involves Lynemouth Power Station, which aims to convert to biomass by 2015.
Both these projects would create more jobs and import up to 0.8m tonnes of biomass through Blyth every year.