AN engineering design firm has established a new branch of its North-East business to make the most of growing opportunities in the rapidly expanding oil and gas sector, creating 36 jobs.

Stockton-based Nortech Group has set up Nortech Oil and Gas Limited, which provides engineering design and project management specifically for the upstream oil and gas market.

The new firm will focus on the successful delivery of brownfield topside hydrocarbon, process and utility projects in both Aberdeen, Scotland, and internationally.

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The company’s expansion follows a multi-million pound contract win with EnQuest in July. The engineering firm is now working with EnQuest on a number of process simplification projects to extend the operating life of the Thistle Alpha platform, which is located north of Aberdeen, by a further 15 years.

The company has hired 36 new members of staff and taken up an extra 3,000sq feet of office space acquired at Wynyard Park, where the group is based.

Two high profile appointments have also been made to the new company at director level. William O’Neil has been appointed to the role of oil and gas director following a 30-year record in senior project management roles for engineering companies based mainly out of Aberdeen. Newly appointed business development and delivery manager Peter Doherty has a strong background in project delivery in the industry, having managed a variety of topside and upstream projects with values in excess of £50m.

Bryan Bunn, managing director at Nortech Solutions, said: “Nortech Group is going from strength to strength, and I am delighted to be able to announce the establishment of the new company, which will service the demands of our growing list of clients.

“It’s the perfect time for the North-East to seize the initiative in this growing sector, and to really put our region on the map as a place that’s open for business, and that can leverage success in this exciting sector.”

Nortech Group has rapidly expanded after being established in April last year by Mr Bunn, an engineer with substantial experience in the oil and gas, petrochemical, chemical, nuclear, iron and steel sectors.

The firm, which now employs 65 members of staff, serves the, offshore, onshore oil and gas sectors as well as the process, and steel and iron industries. The UK oil and gas industry has been the largest sector of industrial development throughout the past four decades.

It supports more than 400,000 jobs and contributes about £8bn a year to The Treasury.

Although oil and gas production is now in decline, the remaining resource is sufficient to provide major benefits to the economy and to security of supply for many years.