Funding boost of £11.7m for Aberdeen harbour expansion
Aberdeen's £350m harbour expansion plan will receive an £11.7m funding boost, the first minster has confirmed.
Nicola Sturgeon announced the "significant" Scottish Enterprise funding for the project during a visit to the city.
The harbour expansion into Nigg Bay, which is due to be completed in 2020, hopes to create 2,300 jobs by 2026.
The new funding is in addition to a loan of £175m from the European Investment Bank.
The project is also supported by up to £11m from Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council via the Aberdeen City Region Deal.
Aberdeen Harbour Board plans to improve oil industry infrastructure at the port.
It also wants to expand into more diverse areas such as tourism, with improvements designed to attract cruise ships.
Ms Sturgeon said: "Aberdeen Harbour is Scotland's main oil and gas port and one of Europe's leading marine support centres for offshore energy.
"This funding will open up significant opportunities to diversify and exploit the rapid growth in cruise tourism and the renewables markets in Scotland.
"We are already seeing Scottish-based firms seizing decommissioning opportunities, and we are committed to supporting Scottish industry to win further valuable contracts.
"That's why we developed a Decommissioning Plan last year, and have since launched the £5m Decommissioning Challenge Fund."
Scottish Enterprise director of energy Maggie McGinlay said: "The Aberdeen harbour expansion project is strategically important to the growth of Scotland's economy.
"A recent impact assessment study confirms the project will not only help sustain growth in the oil and gas sector, but will also help to maximise opportunities from the growing cruise tourism and renewables sectors."
The harbour board has described the project as a "major new chapter" in the port's history.
Its chief executive Colin Parker said the new funding was "immensely significant."
He said: "It further demonstrates recognition of this strategic project as one of national and international importance.
"The facilities developed will transform the port's ability to accommodate the trend for larger vessels we are witnessing across a whole range of industries, thereby encouraging commercial diversification and future-proofing the port's ability to support large-scale marine operations."