Apache, the US-based oil and gas operator, has placed a £150million contract to build a new oil production platform for the Forties field in the UK North Sea.
The new platform will be bridge-linked to the Forties Alpha installation in the Apache-operated field, which it acquired from BP in 2003.
James House, Apache’s Aberdeen-based regional vice-president and North Sea managing director, said: “This project will provide Apache with 18 new slots for drilling additional development wells to increase the ultimate recovery from the prolific Forties field.”
The platform is due to be floated out in July 2012, with final commissioning and handover scheduled for September/October that year.
The economy of the north-east of England will receive a major boost with oil and gas engineering and fabrication contractor Offshore Group Newcastle (OGN) having been selected by Apache to build the new platform, the fifth on the field.
OGN said hundreds of jobs would be generated over 20 months at its 75-acre Hadrian Yard site on the River Tyne, at Wallsend, as a result. It said the project would require a skilled workforce plus project managers and designers, in addition to sub-contracted on-site services and outsourced supply chain for off-site manufacture of materials and equipment.
OGN added that this would amount to about 1,000 people during the construction period and up to 80% of the construction materials worth about £40million would be sourced from the UK.
Chairman Dennis Clark said: “The North Sea oil and gas market is coming back to life and infrastructure investment looks set to increase further, which is great for Tyneside and the north-east region.”
Energy Minister Charles Hendry said: “Although we are moving towards a low-carbon future, we will remain dependent on oil and gas for years to come, and this government is resolved in encouraging the safe development of our resources in the North Sea.”