FERGUSON'S is a step closer to winning major work to build a fleet of new vessels after potential customer BP secured a contract as part of the potential £10 billion ScotWind project.

BP and partner EnBW — who teamed up to secure the number one 'acreage' site in an auction of 17 Scottish Government plots — have been in talks with Ferguson Marine about four ships which will be required to service their proposed development.

The Telegraph told before Christmas how BP's vice president for zero carbon energy, Felipe Arbelaez, followed up initial discussions last summer by visiting the shipyard himself to meet with senior management.

Now — with confirmation that the BP/EnBW bid for the second largest ScotWind slot has been successful — both companies are set to forge ahead with their plans to have the ships they need built in Scotland.

Ferguson and Babcock are the two yards that the energy consortium has been dealing with.

Outgoing Ferguson boss Tim Hair — who will hand over to new chief executive David Tydeman next month — has congratulated BP on their successful bid.

Mr Hair added: "We have been in discussion with the team at BP over many months last year regarding their vessel needs for this bid and we organised several visits to the shipyard to showcase our facilities and the quality of our work.

"We welcome the opportunity to partner with BP on their vessel needs and the award announcement brings us a step closer to potentially working with them.

"It's still early days and they will have a lot of planning to undertake before they are ready to consider vessel needs in detail, but we have a positive and constructive relationship and we look forward to progressing discussions with them."

A spokesman for BP said: "We look forward to continuing constructive dialogue with both Ferguson Marine and Babcock International now that the ScotWind results have been announced."

The company's Mr Arbelaez and EnBW's supply chain manager for offshore UK wind, Duncan Ayling, along with BP's project director for Irish Sea windfarm leases, Richard Haydock, visited Ferguson Marine in December.

Mr Arbelaez said at the time: We see Ferguson as one of the shipyards that could be a player, no doubt.

"From our point of view we are committed to creating as many jobs as possible in Scotland.

"We are really looking to position Scotland as a leader in the energy transition."

"There are two different types [of ship] and it may be when we see the exact detail of what BP wants it may be that one of those types may or may not be a great fit for Ferguson, but fundamentally we will bid for all of the vessels.

"Our objective is to create a sustainable shipyard that's here for a long time to come."

The BP/EnBW consortium has won a lease for an area that will support offshore wind projects with 2.9 gigawatts generating capacity.

The Scottish Government netted £700 million from the auction.

ScotWind is a programme managed by Crown Estate Scotland which has leased areas of the seabed around the country for windfarm developments.

The Scottish Government has set a target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2045.