Published: 27/06/2018 11:00 - Updated: 26/06/2018 17:40

Subsea 7 order hailed as very good news for Caithness

Written byGordon Calder

A MULTIMILLION-pound order that has been won by Subsea 7 and will create up to 130 jobs was described yesterday as “very good news for Caithness”.

The company has been awarded a contract by Shell for a development at its Penguins field which lies 150 miles north east of Shetland.

Subsea 7, which has yards at Wester and Hastigrow, will build two pipeline bundles in Caithness as part of the deal. One is 4.6 kilometres long and the other 2.7 kilometres.

They will be used by Shell to develop the potential reserves in the Penguins field.

Subsea7’s local site manager, Willie Watt, said: “We would be looking to make a start on this project by the autumn of next year and launch in the late spring of 2020.

“This is very good news for the site and for Caithness. It is a testament to the capabilities of the people and the product that major companies keep coming back to us.”

The confirmation of the latest contract comes just months after Subsea 7 won an order from Statoil for its Snorre oil and gas field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. Its total value was said to be between £150 million and £300m.

Work on that contract is expected to get under way in September with three launches due to be completed by November next year.

The orders will see the company’s local workforce increase from around 30, at present, to up to 160.

“This will give us continual work in Caithness until 2020, although there will be peaks and troughs along the way – but this is great news all round,” Mr Watt added.

Jonathan Tame, company vice president for the UK and Canada, said: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to bring our extensive expertise to a project of this importance.

“In doing so it demonstrates Shell’s confidence in our value-adding solutions, and continues a successful North Sea collaboration that has been in place since 1984.”

The Penguins field was discovered in 1974 and first developed in 2002.

The three pipeline bundles for Statoil will involve the largest diameter pipe assembled in the far north.

The bulk of the fabrication will be done in Caithness, with design and project management work due to be undertaken at Subsea7’s premises in Aberdeen and at Stavanger in Norway.

At the time that order was announced in December last year, Mr Watt said: “It is good to have Statoil back. The last bundle we did for them was in 2003.

“It is an important project and shows pipeline bundles are the preference for developing the North Sea sector. It is the right product at the right time.”

The Statoil order will include pipeline bundles and control umbilicals required for the development.

The Snorre field is sited within the Tampen area of the Norwegian North Sea.

Since the last pipeline was launched in Caithness in March last year, the company has refurbished the rail track which is used to transport the bundles to the sea and on to the tugs before being taken to their destination.

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