Global Energy Group moves ahead with Nigg port plan
Global Energy Group has formally applied to the Scottish government to create a new harbour at Nigg on the Cromarty Firth.
The Cromarty Firth Port Authority (CFPA) has criticised the proposal.
CFPA, which operates a harbour at Invergordon, has concerns that the new harbour would control a large section of firth's main access.
Global Energy said the facility was needed to support its work at sites it operates at Nigg and Invergordon.
The energy industry service firm owns the Nigg fabrication yard on the shores of the firth.
The company has applied to Scottish ministers for a harbour revision order to grant it various powers for the management and control of a port at Nigg.
Group chairman Roy MacGregor said: "This application is further testimony of our commitment to our work in the Cromarty Firth.
"Having invested heavily in both Invergordon and Nigg, we are keen to maximise the opportunities to grow our business in both areas."
Mr MacGregor said Global Energy had included the local community and stakeholders in discussions on its plans and "tried to be as open as we can with them, listening and, wherever possible, acting on their thoughts and comments".
He added: "This application is all about trying to ensure we have the right management and controls in place for the port of Nigg and the Cromarty Firth."
The harbour revision order has gone out to public consultation.
CFPA operates the firth's long established port at Invergordon.
Invergordon and the Cromarty Firth serve cruise liners and the North Sea oil and gas industry.
Earlier this month, CFPA chief executive Bob Buskie said his 40-year-old organisation was a trust set up by an act of parliament and acted as custodians for the firth.
Following the latest development on the plan, Mr Buskie said CFPA had supported Global Energy in its work but failed to understand the need for a private harbour.
He said: "This application by Global Energy Nigg Limited appears to be an attempt to take control of a key strategic Scottish asset, for the financial gain of a private company.
"If it was allowed to go through it would likely increase the value of the Global Energy Group at no cost to themselves but to the detriment of the existing trust port and its stakeholders.
"It could also seriously affect other companies operating successfully within the firth, including two international rig repair firms that have recently created hundreds of new jobs and brought much needed competition to the area."