The future of SLP, one of the UK’s best known offshore fabrication yards, continues to hang by a thread following its collapse into administration several weeks ago.
Local speculation in Lowestoft and around Tyneside is that a variety of potential suitors are interested in buying the company from administrators PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Moreover, in the run-up to Christmas, at least one potential buyer visited SLP’s headquarters in Lowestoft, with more visitors expected as the new year gets under way.
Energy understands that the company does have a viable future and that, among the interested parties, Russian money is chasing this as a knock-down opportunity.
The main interest is apparently the Hadrian yard, on the Tyne, which was, for years, owned by Amec but is today controlled by local interests and leased to SLP, which has reconfigured it to handle both offshore oil&gas fabrication and capitalise on the huge opportunities presented by offshore wind power as this new sector matures.
Arguably, the Hadrian yard is the best offshore fabrication facility left in the UK and, with the right management strategy, could capture some sizeable contracts, including new offshore platforms.
However, the Lowestoft facility is also valuable as it is conveniently located close to the Southern Gas Basin and many offshore wind projects.
A pipeline of fairly significant oil and/or gas developments is in the pipeline, including phase two of Clair, Breagh, Mariner, Bressay, plus a crop of smaller developments and, in some instances, re-developments such as Talisman-operated Auk South, should that project proceed under current ownership.
Indeed, it is said around Aberdeen that there may be sufficient new developments – as many as 18 – coming up near and medium term.