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Subsea 7 workers wait for more news on job cuts

By Gordon Calder

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The Snorre East bundle launch in progress at the Wester site earlier this year. Picture: Subsea 7
The Snorre East bundle launch in progress at the Wester site earlier this year. Picture: Subsea 7

SUBSEA 7 employees in Caithness are waiting to find out if they are to be affected by 3000 job losses being made by the company worldwide in the next year.

The company, which has sites at Wester and Hastigrow, is not saying yet where the cuts will be made.

However, it is expected the workforce will be cut from 12,000 to 9000 by the middle of 2021, with two-thirds of the reduction affecting non-permanent workers and one-third permanent employees.

Subsea 7 says discussions with employee representatives will take place on a local basis and consultation will start soon.

Its fleet of 32 vessels will be reduced by up to 10 vessels over the next 12 months as the workload evolves.

The company hopes these measures will result in savings of around £325 million a year from the second quarter of 2021. In addition, capital expenditures will be reduced to minimal levels in 2021 and 2022.

Chief executive John Evans said: "Faced with a significant deterioration in the oil and gas market, we are taking swift and decisive action to address the elements under our control. These measures to reduce our cost base will help preserve cash and protect our balance-sheet strength, while maintaining our strong competitive position in core markets."

The company, which makes pipeline bundles for oil companies, transported its biggest towhead through Wick earlier this year.

The towhead – one of two for the Buzzard field, more than 100 kilometres north-east of Aberdeen – was moved through the town in two stages.

It was taken from the harbour to the Lochshell business park and then transferred to a special trailer before going on to Wester.

To get the massive towhead through Wick, modifications had to be made to the road network and overhead cables moved. The pipeline bundles – one measuring 250 metres and the other 5.3 kilometres – are due to be launched in late summer.

In March, Subsea 7 successfully launched its biggest ever bundle which weighed 10,500 tons and was for the Snorre field which lies in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.

At that time, the company employed over 120 people at Wester and Hastigrow.

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