OFFSHORE Europe 2011 day one: for once there’s a decent new project announcement … BP’s £700million Kinnoul satellite field that the company says will support 1,000 or so jobs at peak.
From a local point of view it is great that some of the business at least is going to Subsea 7 and it will be brilliant … necessary even … if the other main packages of work to do with this project are awarded to UK-based yards, even if foreign owned.
There is now a sizeable pipeline of new field developments in process, Chancellot George Osbourne notwithstanding, and there is a really worry afoot here at Offshore Europe that far too much of the construction work will be placed in foreign hands. To put not too fine a point on it, what’s left of our heavy fabrication capability is hacked off with operators who favour Far East and Middle East yards because they’re cheaper … though not if carbon footprints are factored in, I’ll warrant.
For example, I am given to understand that there is a bit of a battle going on to persuade Nexen to place a wellhead module contract here and not in the Midddle East. Bidding is down to a two-horse race and one of the horses is Burntisland Fabrications of Methil.
DECC and particularly energy minister Charles Hendry, needs to understand that we as a nation (UK) cannot stand passively by as business floods overseas. It really is time to get like the French, Italians, Norwegians and Germans and protect our own … even if our own is foreign-owned.
I know for a fact that Mr Hendry’s ear has been getting a real bashing on this one here on day one of Offshore 2011.
More from me tomorrow.