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ROV NEWS: Anger as major Buzzard Engineering contracts bound for Spain!

Posted on 18.12.2003 - 07:10 EST in ONSHORE NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links

North Sea contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds and which could have helped sustain thousands of UK jobs for at least two years are set to go to Spain.

The Press and Journal can reveal that Canadian oil company EnCana is poised to announce that the plum platform topsides fabrication work for the £1.35billion three-platform Buzzard field development 100km north-east of Aberdeen will go to Spanish company Dragados. A trade union source expects the announcement to be made today.

It seems that Amec's huge fabrication yard on Tyneside, which bid for the work, has been bypassed. Amec is known to be internationally competitive, is currently building the Clair platform topsides for BP and has just delivered the huge Bonga production ship to West Africa. The Heerema facility at Hartlepool may also have been bypassed for the big-value work.

We have been told that Dragados has scooped the most desirable package - the 10,500-tonne topsides for the oil and gas process platform.

A further large platform topsides contract - for the 8,000 to 9,000tonnes utilities/ quarters deck - may also go to the firm, though a source said last night it was still possible Heerema may get it, but that the work could go to its yard in the Netherlands.

The only known UK win is the modest wellhead platform deck contract already awarded to Burntisland Fabricators, in Fife. The jackets contract was awarded to Aker Kvaerner, in Norway, several months ago.

Banff and Buchan MP Alex Salmond and North Sea union official Graham Tran branded EnCana's actions scandalous. They want an explanation from the Government.

The SNP politician said: "If true, then it is of enormous concern that the vast bulk of the Buzzard project contracts have bypassed UK yards.

"The Government must explain why it is that UK yards were apparently unable to compete. Buzzard was supposed to have been the start of a new generation of sizeable new field developments that would deliver real economic benefit."

Mr Tran, of Amicus, said he had been told that Dragados had picked up most of the work. He added: "We're angry; this is a slap in the face for the UK contracting and supply sector. This is the thanks that a new entrant gives the Government."

Commenting on the fact that EnCana's UK managing director, Alan Booth, had just been made 2004 president of the UK Offshore Operators Association, Mr Tran said: "He is acting in a disgraceful fashion. To think that, as president of UKOOA, one of his duties will be to help enhance the competitive position of British companies.

The Canadian operator declined to comment, but a spokesman told the P &J on Tuesday that it would announce contracts when it was ready.


09:00 - 18 December 2003

Source: This is North Scotland
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