Norwegian oil and gas service company Marine Subsea has axed its Aberdeen-based UK subsidiary, with the loss of 23 jobs.
Marine Subsea (UK) is in the process of being wound up after lenders repossessed a well intervention vessel, Sarah, leaving the firm with no work.
Three key staff members are being kept on in case the situation changes. In a third-quarter results statement yesterday, the parent said it was told by financiers last month that Sarah would not be allowed to leave the North Sea. This made it impossible for the group to deliver on a key contract with Angolan national oil company Sonangol, it added.
Marine Subsea, which has its headquarters at Lysaker, near Oslo, said: “In early November they (the lenders) informed us that all amounts outstanding under the Sarah financing were declared immediately due and payable.”
The ship, currently docked at Montrose, was repossessed on Wednesday. Financiers want to sell her but Marine Subsea said it would not voluntarily agree to the move without taking the interest of creditors into consideration.
A second well intervention vessel, the newly built Karianne, has also had financial support pulled after Marine Subsea missed loan repayments. The company says it was unable to meet its obligations after Sonangol withheld cash.
Director Kristen Jakobsen told the Press and Journal the whole situation was “messy and stupid”, but Marine Subsea was working closely with bondholders, lenders and other parties to secure the best possible outcome.
Aberdeen sources said bosses at Marine Subsea (UK), which is now in the hands of provisional liquidators at professional service group KPMG, were “hacked off” because it was a very strong business.
In June, the subsidiary announced a series of contracts worth more than £2million to do a multi-client well abandonment programme for operators in the North Sea.
In a campaign designed to spread the mobilisation and transit costs associated with decommissioning activity, Marine Subsea UK said it would use Sarah to plug and abandon five wells for oil and gas operators.