oil rig/Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

More than 700 jobs will be created after the energy company Statoil announced a £4.3 billion investment in the North Sea.

The Norwegian energy firm will develop the Mariner oil field, which is located some 150 kilometres east of the Shetland Isles.


The company hailed this as the largest new offshore development in the UK for more than a decade.

Lars Christian Bacher, executive vice president for international development and production at Statoil, said the plans would lead to "substantial job creation" in the Aberdeen area, with more than 700 long-term, full-time posts expected.

The company expects to take on 200 people to work at an operations centre in Aberdeen as well as more than 500 offshore positions. Pending final approval from the UK authorities, Statoil expects to start producing oil there in 2017, with an estimated 30 years worth of oil in the Mariner Field

Mr Bacher said: "We are satisfied that we now are able to make an investment decision for a profitable development of the Mariner field."

He added: "The Mariner project is a good strategic fit for Statoil. We are the world's largest offshore operator and have a portfolio of attractive projects in some of the most prolific basins in the world. The North Sea is a core area for Statoil and we look forward to taking a leading role in further developing also the UK part of this basin."

He continued: "This project will entail substantial job creation in the Aberdeen region, with more than 700 long-term full-time positions. Of these, around 200 will be onshore jobs at the operations centre in Aberdeen and more than 500 will be offshore positions. We aim to recruit most of these positions locally. We are planning to start the first recruitments early in 2013."

The new development was announced the day after a Japanese firm announced it was acquiring an extensive portfolio of oil and gas assets in the UK Continental Shelf. JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration has signed a deal to buy 17 producing fields plus other potential development sites.

Maureen Watt, the SNP MSP for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, said: "The creation of 700 new jobs and financial interest from Japan is a sure sign that the stock of Scotland's oil is a hugely valuable resource."

© 2012 Press Association