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Top energy awards for Caithness

Caithness Courier

Caithness is celebrating with two of this year's Energy North Awards winners from the area.

Organised by leading trade body Energy North, the event on October 31st at Inverness's Drumossie Hotel, recognised the top organisations and individuals in the oil and gas, renewables and supply chain industries across the region.

Scrabster Harbour picked up the Oil and Gas Industry Service Supplier Award and the Energy North Ambassador for 2013 was named as local man Willie Watt from Subsea 7 and chairman of the Wick Harbour Authority (WHA).

Mr Watt said: "I was very suprised and honoured and accepted the award on behalf of the great teams I work with at Subsea 7 and WHA."

Mr Watt started working at the Wester Site of Subsea 7 in 1982 and joined WHA in 2005. As an active ambassador for Caithness, he works at developing the resources and opportunities available in the county, recognising the role the county has to play in the growth of the global energy industry.

"I've been working hard on both the areas I'm involved with," he said. "At Wick Harbour, I've been trying to breathe some life back into it after the fishing days and at Subsea 7 I've been working on executing North Sea projects over the past 35 years.

"I want to try and make sure we continue to have a good outlook for the future and we want to create many hundreds of jobs in the renewable industry.

"It's all about setting up businesses and encouraging investment so that long after our experience with nuclear decommissioning is over, we have another string to our bow."

Mr Watt highlighted the offshore wind and tidal opportunities for the county, plus the oil and gas fields opening up off Shetland.

"It's great to see Scrabster getting an award too and between Gills Bay, ourselves, Lybster and Helmsdale, hopefully we'll all get a slice of what's to come," he said.

"I think the most important thing is getting work into Caithness and getting youngsters aware of the work that's going to come to the area so they can align their education to what may come.

"I'm regularly talking to primary schools and secondary schools to get them to engage in different initiatives to energise them towards what's coming.

"It was a lovely surpirse to win the ambassador award and it's great to get something like this after a lot of hard work."

Ian Couper, chief executive of Energy North, said: "In the north of Scotland we're extremely fortunate that opportunities in energy have always been on our doorstep. We enjoy a geography, geology and climate that has gifted us with an abundance of resources in the form of fossil fuels, wind and waves. What makes the north especially advantageous is its wealth of resourceful, inventive, innovative and ambitious businesses, organisations, men and women."