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24.07.07
Seacore prepares for Falmouth move

One of the world's leading marine engineering companies has received the keys to its brand new offices and workshops at Falmouth in Cornwall.

Fugro Seacore Ltd (Seacore), currently headquartered at Gweek, near Helston, will move to its new seven-acre site on the Bickland Industrial Estate in September.

The move is crucial to the company's continued growth as it pursues a range of marine drilling and construction projects around the world.

The £6 million new premises have been invested in by the South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA) and the Objective One Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and include what the company says is one of the best workshops in Cornwall.

Seacore will lease the buildings from the South West RDA, which presented the keys to the company this week. The company will spend the next few months fitting the buildings out.

Richard Reed, Seacore's commercial director, said: "Seacore is a Cornish company born and bred and we've evolved over the years to become a world-leader in what we do. With the support of the RDA and Objective One we will be able to manage future expansion and keep our specialist jobs and knowledge in Cornwall, and we're absolutely thrilled with our new home."

Stephen Bohane, head of operations for the South West RDA in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which has invested £3.37 million in the new premises, said: "Part of the RDA's role is to support business growth in key sectors such as marine and environmental technologies.

"The lack of suitable workspace in the county for Seacore to relocate and the prohibitive costs of a private sector development on this site meant it was right for us to get involved. We already owned the Falmouth site and by making this investment we have helped to ensure that the skills and expertise of this world-class company are kept in Cornwall."

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership, said: "Cornwall has traditionally been at the forefront of drilling technology and Seacore continues to provide well paid and highly skilled jobs. This is a significant investment for the Objective One Programme and we are delighted to be able to support projects like this to enable companies such as Seacore face the future with confidence."

Seacore was founded in 1976 by Camborne School of Mines graduate Robert Goodden to provide geotechnical offshore drilling services to the oil and gas industry, working at water depths of up to 2,000 metres.

The company then evolved into the nearshore market through the design and construction of a series of small, easily-transportable 'jack-up' barges that are used as drill platforms in areas where hostile sea conditions make it difficult to use conventional barges.

Seacore designs and manufactures its own equipment depending on what its customers require and carries out specialist marine site investigation and sub-sea construction projects in some of the world's most challenging environments.

The company employs 180 highly skilled staff, the vast majority of whom are locally based, although two-thirds of the workforce is usually scattered across the globe working on projects for customers ranging from oil and gas companies to offshore windfarm developers and government departments.

Seacore has developed strong links with Cornwall's higher education sector. The company employs a significant number of science and engineering graduates, many from the Camborne School of Mines, and retains close links with Combined Universities in Cornwall. The high skill level is reflected in pay – average wages for the company as a whole are approximately double the Cornish average.

Seacore had been looking for new premises since 2000 and in that time its workforce has more than doubled. It is investing £1.25 million in the move to Falmouth and is building a specialist paint spraying facility on site, which will be completed in September.

Its new premises include offices and a state-of-the-art workshop with a 25-tonne crane capability. The vast majority of everything Seacore owns – from specialist drills to six out of its eight jack-up barges – is road transportable, so good road links and space to manoeuvre on site are essential.

The company was acquired by Dutch group Fugro NV, the world's largest integrated geotechnical, survey and geosciences company, in April 2006. The deal cemented a 20 year relationship and ensures the continuing development and prosperity of the business. To mark the deal the company has changed its name to Fugro Seacore Ltd.

Since then Seacore's specialist engineering and drilling skills have been in strong demand from Fugro's subsidiaries around the world, so much so that Seacore is considering setting up a training academy in Cornwall to support the multi-national group.

Recent Seacore projects include the construction of drilled pile foundations for the new Upper Forth Crossing at Kincardine in Scotland. The £6 million project involved drilling holes with a diameter of 3.8 metres to support a new bridge.

Seacore's largest jack-up barge, Excalibur, which weighs 3000 tonnes and can accommodate 20 staff, is currently in Morecambe Bay drilling 1,000 metre deep bore holes to investigate whether underground salt domes could be used to store natural gas.

For more details contact Jason Clark at Deborah Clark and Associates Ltd on 01872 276 276 or email jason@dca-pr.co.uk.

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Editor's notes:

The South West RDA was established by government in 1999 to promote the long-term economic success of the region. It does this by working with others to give people the skills they need, encouraging enterprise, improving infrastructure, helping communities with regeneration and promoting the strengths of the region.

Seacore has taken a 15-year lease on the new premises from the South West RDA.

The South West RDA invested 3.37 million in the £6.05 million project with a further £2.68 million invested by the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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