Petrofac, the international oil and gas facility service provider, has been awarded a contract worth more than £500million.
The company is to develop a gas-processing plant for Total E&P UK at Sullom Voe, in Shetland, adjacent to the oil terminal there.
As reported previously, the project will involve hundreds of workers.
Engineering work is due to begin almost immediately, although construction work on site is not expected to start until late next year with first gas to be processed in the second quarter of 2014.
The plant will land and process gas from Total’s Laggan and Tormore fields, which lie about 78 miles north-west of Shetland. They are 80%-owned by Total and 20% by Denmark’s Dong Energy.
A new pipeline will also be built to carry gas onwards to the Total-operated St Fergus gas terminal in Aberdeenshire, although Petrofac is not involved in that.
Petrofac will develop the 500million cubic feet per day processing plant through its offshore engineering and operations (OE&O) business unit, supported by its engineering and construction division.
The project comprises engineering and procurement, supply, construction, commissioning and start-up.
Petrofac chief operating officer Maroun Semaan said: “The contract, which has been secured following an extensive project definition and competitive bidding process, forms part of the strategic growth plan for the OE&O business and marks our first engineering, procurement and construction contract in the UK.”
Bill Dunnett, managing director of OE&O, said: “This represents a very significant milestone for the OE&O business.
“We have mobilised an excellent project team focused upon delivering the project objectives, while ensuring we respect both the location and the environment, and to work alongside the local Shetland community.”
Mr Dunnett said numbers employed during the gas plant construction would range from about 200 at the start to 800 at the peak, with Petrofac employing 25% directly and the remainder contractors.
Recruitment will be targeted at experienced people, particularly in the north-east, central Scotland and north-east of England, in addition to some from Shetland.
Purpose-built accommodation to house up to 800 plant workers next to the site will get under way early next year.