A MARINE engineering firm says it hopes to create jobs after a multi-million pound energy development deal strengthened its expansion.

Tekmar Energy, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, is sending cable protection systems to the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm.

The farm, off the Norfolk coast, is expected to power more than 400,000 UK homes every year from the end of 2017.

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It comes as the firm transfers production to the former Tetley Tea warehouse in Aycliffe, which bosses say could deliver new jobs.

Earlier this year, The Northern Echo revealed its expansion plans were part of wider ambitions to increase overall turnover from £22m to about £50m and create between 30 and 50 jobs.

John Tweedlie, Tekmar’s operations director, said: “We are approaching the completion of the fit out of our new production site and look forward to fulfilling the Dudgeon contract from there.

“Winning this project will also provide the opportunity for further employment.”

The contract is Tekmar’s 30th offshore wind project, with its equipment protecting subsea power cables and systems safeguarding platform and export cables.

Tekmar employs about 75 people, and previously said the move to the 75,000sq ft ex-Tetley plant will allow it to push on with plans to return to the oil and gas market and generate revenues of £15m from those operations by 2016.

Last year, bosses also told The Northern Echo they wanted to build a research and development centre to continue strengthening its order book.

James Ritchie, chief executive, said: “We operate in a global market and this investment will enable us to maintain and grow our position in the supply chain by building on our impressive track record.

“We are very proud to be at the forefront of the subsea technology sector and this growth demonstrates the increasingly prominent role UK companies have in the energy sector supply chain.”

Earlier this year, Tekmar secured work on a landmark US wind farm.

It will design and make more than 200 protection systems for cabling on Cape Wind, which is the country’s first offshore development.

It will also supply cable guide cones, which are attached to foundations to give greater support to power cabling, and will oversee installation when work starts.

Energy bosses say the 130-turbine wind farm, which will be based off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, will be capable of powering 200,000 homes every year.