Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward today announced that a major manufacturing facility will be built at the City-owned Port of Pensacola, creating up to 200 new jobs. A lease agreement approved by the City Council in March and executed in May between the City and Port customer Offshore Inland Marine & Oilfield Services (OIMO) paved the way for the project.
Offshore Inland, a leader in topside and riding crew repair services, is joining forces with DeepFlex, the world’s only manufacturer of unbonded non-metallic pipe for deepwater applications, to establish a new unbonded flexible pipe manufacturing and qualification testing facility at the Port of Pensacola. The facility, which is expected to be fully operational by the second half of 2015, will produce up to 62 miles of the specialized pipe per year.
“Throughout its long and storied history, the Port of Pensacola has often reinvented and reimagined itself to meet the needs of the times,” Mayor Hayward said. “From pine and pitch, wooden masts and sailing spars in the 1700s, to bricks and lumber and cotton in the 1800s; from coal during the war years to the peanuts, poultry, paper, and wind turbine components of more modern times, our Port has always reflected our region’s contributions to the world economy.”
“Two and a half years ago, I set out a new vision for our Port, designed to position it to better compete in a changing global marketplace and to be an economic engine for our region. We are beginning to see results. The constant modernization of subsea oil and natural gas production, combined with our nation’s renewed dedication to reducing dependence on foreign oil, has provided new opportunities for our historic Port to play an important role in our City’s economic growth and diversification,” Hayward said.
The OIMO/DeepFlex complex will be comprised of a heavily-renovated existing Port warehouse plus new buildings and infrastructure built on up to 3½ acres of undeveloped Port land. It will be capable of producing DeepFlex’s complete flexible pipe product range, including composite reinforced pipe structures (FFRP) and hybrid (composite and steel) reinforced pipe (FHRP), and is being designed with maximum agility and flexibility in mind so OIMO and DeepFlex can rapidly respond to the evolving needs of the ultra-deep subsea marketplace.
The pipe produced at the facility will leave the Port as cargo either by truck, rail, barge, cargo ship or direct load-out to subsea pipe-laying vessels calling at Offshore Inland’s existing Gulf of Mexico Offshore & Subsea Support Services Center on the west side of the Port. As such, in addition to rent, it will generate income through the various cargo and vessel fees normally associated with Port activity.
In cooperation with Mayor Hayward’s office, the Greater Pensacola Chamber helped the companies navigate the site selection process as well as available local, regional, and state incentives. Cooperation among several other local, regional, and state partners – including the Office of Governor Rick Scott, Enterprise Florida, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the Florida Department of Transportation, and Escambia County – was also instrumental in facilitating the project. The project was also supported by two special regional initiatives: Gulf Power Company’s Job Creation Rate Incentive, which offers discounts to new and existing customers who add jobs, capital investments and new electrical loads to the region; and the Industry Recruitment, Retention and Expansion Fund, a regional economic development initiative administered by the University of West Florida and appropriated by the state legislature.