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Orkney marine specialist expands its operations

International marine energy developers could have access to innovative new technology being developed by Orkney based marine specialist Leask Marine.

The company is researching and developing the world’s first submersible drilling rig of its kind and size, purchasing new equipment and creating jobs with support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Enterprise (SE).

Leask Marine will invest £1.5 million in its R&D project, which is supported by a SMART: SCOTLAND R&D grant of £488,688 as contribution from SE towards the project costs.  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.

Leask Marine aims to target commercial opportunities in the offshore renewable energy market in Orkney and beyond with the cost effective and easily transported drilling rig.    

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 30m steel pontoon which will serve as a working platform and is available for charter for the renewable energy industry, marine construction or harbour maintenance.

Orkney has played a key role in Scotland’s growth of wave and tidal energy technologies and 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 centre.

Graeme Harrison, area manager at HIE’s Orkney area team, said: “Orkney has become the global epicentre of marine renewables research based around EMEC and this has led to the development of a skilled and experienced local supply chain. Leask Marine’s skills are in high demand and we are delighted to support them extend their services to the marine renewable energy sector.”

“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.”

Michael Cannon, head of innovation grants, RSA and open innovation at Scottish Enterprise said: “Leask Marine is a fantastic example of an innovative company with global ambitions. Increasing business innovation is critical to maintaining Scotland’s competitiveness and helping companies compete in the global marketplace.”

Leask Marine employs 38 people in Kirkwall and is shortlisted for the outstanding service prize at the Scottish Green Energy Awards this year.

Dougie Leask, founder of Leask Marine, said: “We are delighted with the support from HIE and SE which has helped us to expand our growth plans locally and internationally. The Numitor is a welcome addition to our fleet of vessels which provides a boost to our business and will enable us/has enabled us to recruit new jobs. We look forward to developing the R&D project which will help us achieve our international ambitions.”

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