Published: 08/02/2014 14:00 - Updated: 07/02/2014 12:32

Oil plant plan promises jobs boost

Northern Oils owner and managing director David Wood.
Northern Oils owner and managing director David Wood.

A £3.2 MILLION development proposed for Buckie Harbour would create up to 20 jobs and place the town on the manufacturing map.

Northern Oils is behind plans for the first lubricating oil blending plant in Scotland, earmarked for the former Jones Buckie Shipyard.

The development would breathe new life into the ‘eyesore’ site, which was purchased by the Lintmill-based firm last year.

Should it be given the green light by Moray Council, construction could begin this year, with production likely to be underway by mid-2016.

Between 15 and 20 jobs would be created, with more expected as production increases.

Owner David Wood said: “This is an exciting development for Buckie, which I hope will act as a catalyst to stimulate further investment in our local area and particularly the port.”

Under the proposal, the former boatbuilding sheds would be treated and reclad to create a factory and warehouse, while tanks capable of holding 7 million litres of oil would be constructed. A packaging plant and laboratory facilities would be included.

Base lube oil would come into Buckie by ship and would be pumped ashore for storage before being blended with additives, making it suitable for engine, gearbox, and hydraulic systems.

It is estimated that 25 million litres of lubricating oil would be produced every year.

Documents to Moray Council planners stated that the process is not hazardous and no emissions are given off.

Mr Wood said the seaside location made the site ideal for the development.

He said: “By bringing base oil and potentially additives in by sea tanker we can realise greater efficiency in the operation of the plant and also make for a more environmentally friendly mode of operation.”

While some of the finished product would be transported onwards by road, bulk orders would be dispatched by sea.

The application stated: “Buckie will be recognised as a centre of excellence in having the first and only lube oil blending plant in Scotland.

“It will also bring increased trade to the area, since it is the intention of Northern Oils, once the plant is established, to enter into a concerted marketing campaign to all the offshore industries – oil rigs, ship operators, fishing industry – since the Buckie products should be able to compete very effectively with imported supplies.”

Northern Oils is headquartered at Lintmill, near Cullen, and employs around 75 people. Along with sister company Caley Oils, it operates from 12 sites across the UK.

Mr Wood said the proposed development further demonstrated the company’s commitment to the area and local employment.

Buckie has suffered several large-scale job losses over the last 20-30 years and sustained a heavy blow in August when Buckie Shipyard went into receivership with the loss of 74 jobs. A lifeline came in November, when Macduff Shipyards Ltd bought the main fabrication building. The firm further acquired plant machinery and entered into a leading agreement for the adjacent launching ramp.

Last autumn saw calls for the town’s harbour to be designated as an enterprise area in order to encourage further job creation.

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