Able Group chair Peter Stephenson: 'We cannot overstate the significance and impact of this first commitment'
Able Group’s executive chairman has described the SeAH funding announcement as a “defining moment” in the realisation of the long-held estuary site.
Up to 750 jobs will be created at a new £117 million manufacturing facility, producing steel monopiles for offshore wind turbines.
And more is coming, according to Peter Stephenson, who has assembled the huge parcel of deep water-facing land over nearly 20 years.
He said: “This announcement is the culmination of sustained and considerable efforts by many parties.
“Government policy, our own ambitions and the appetite of the offshore wind sector are now well and truly aligned and have created this exceptional opportunity and one that will resonate locally, nationally as well as in global terms. Clearly this is a defining moment for Able Marine Energy Park development and our thanks are warmly extended to the entire SeAH team who have recognised, and shared, our faith and belief in the project.
“Whilst we expect to see further similar announcements in the not too distant future, we cannot overstate the significance and impact of this first commitment.”
The employment figure is nearly double that outlined when Mr Stephenson signed a memorandum of understanding with Hyungkun Nam, chief executive of SeAH firm in September last year.
Back then he told how the North Killingholme operation would have an initial annual capacity of 162,000 tons, rising up to 320,000 tons.
SeAH is the largest steel tube manufacturer in South Korea, with more than 60 years experience in producing for a variety of complex markets.
It has already expanded operations into the USA, Vietnam, UAE, and Italy, and states that its research and development proficiency gives it a “firm belief that our company can meet the technical challenges required for the latest XXXL monopiles”.
It comes alongside further investment in the North East, with government backing a £70 million pledge by Smulders to support transition piece production. A total of 325 jobs will be created or safeguarded.
RenewableUK’s new chief executive, Dan McGrail, said: “Today’s announcements show what can be achieved by industry and government working together to create new opportunities in parts of the country which need levelling up most.
“The offshore wind sector is delivering industrial benefits to the UK, reinvigorating coastal communities and growing a globally competitive supply chain. Private companies are investing billions in innovative clean technology and creating tens of thousands of high-quality jobs, and this is underpinned by the Government’s commitment to quadruple our offshore wind capacity by 2030.
“Today’s announcement provides vital new industrial capacity which will help us achieve that goal. This is a landmark year for renewable energy with the UK hosting the COP26 summit in November - announcements like this demonstrate what building back better after the pandemic looks like in practice.”