UK hovercraft firm to support offshore oil rigs in the Caspian Sea with potential future contracts worth £100m

Courtney Goldsmith
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A Griffon Hoverwork hovercraft gets to work
A Griffon Hoverwork hovercraft gets to work (Source: Department for International Trade)

A leading UK-based hovercraft manufacturer has signed a deal to carry out a study on using hovercraft to clear oil spills and support offshore rigs in the Caspian Sea.

Griffon Hoverwork penned an agreement with a subsidiary of Kazakh state oil company KazMunayGas called KMGSS that has the potential to create future contracts worth over £100m and more than 70 new jobs.

The company will carry out an environmental impact assessment to ensure hovercraft can be used without impacting the local ecosystem. As water levels dropped over recent years, large swathes of the Caspian Sea have been made inaccessible to ships.

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The hovercraft would be able to move over shallow water without disturbing oil spills.

Adrian Went, managing director of Griffon Hoverwork said the agreement was a "huge step" for the Southampton-based company.

The deal was supported by the Department for International Trade (DIT), which has helped create 51 partnerships between UK and Kazakh companies since 2012.

International trade minister Greg Hands said:

Griffon Hoverwork is a prime example of the UK’s engineering excellence.

This agreement will see the UK using hovercraft to overcome complex environmental challenges in the Caspian Sea, with huge potential for jobs back in the UK.

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