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GE Oil & Gas has announced plans for an $11 million expansion project of its Scotland-based “Center of Excellence” for offshore drilling and subsea systems.

The announcement comes after Scotland”s First Minister Alex Salmond met with key players in the oil & gas industry during his visit to Chicago in late September to reinforce the Scottish Government”s commitment to U.S. investors in the industry.

“When GE Oil & Gas centralized its operations at Montrose, Scotland, in 2009, it was with a view to having additional capacity to meet both customers” expanding needs and GE”s anticipated services growth in the European region,” said the First Minister, in a prepared statement. “This ambitious $11 million expansion further demonstrates Scotland”s important role in GE Oil and Gas”s future.”

The subsea arm of the equipment and services supplier for the global offshore drilling and subsea sectors announced the plans to invest $11 million in its Montrose-based Center of Excellence (COE) earlier this year.

Builders have moved onto site, with work taking place to prepare the ground before construction begins. GE says it expects the buildings to be completed early next year, allowing the installation of new machinery. The company says the expansion will create 40 new jobs by 2013.

GE says growing subsea activity and its increased market share have prompted the investment, with the expansion set to double the site”s current size to 4,200 square feet, which is intended to improve its service capabilities, including product testing and assembly.

Rod Christie, vice president of Subsea Systems at GE Oil & Gas, said the expansion is a reflection of the company”s long-term commitment to Scotland and a further indication of the sustained growth in business that GE has seen globally over the last two years.

GE says the site expansion will ensure that new, much larger deepwater vertical xmas tree (DVXT) projects can be manufactured in-house, allowing the organization to meet increasing demand and accelerating the manufacture of subsea equipment for the organization.

Included in the investment is a new state-of-the-art assembly and test line for the construction and testing of sub-assemblies and master block valves (MBV). This will enable the site to produce all key components, from raw material through to a fully-built, flat pack subsea tree. An additional fleet of machinery, including a horizontal lathe and borer, will increase the facility”s current capabilities to accommodate the size and weight of trees required for ultra deepwater applications.