Scottish Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse said today that everything that can be done is being done to safeguard jobs at Burntisland Fabrications and that he expects all partners to ‘act in good faith’.
Speaking to Energy Voice today, he gave assurances that talks are underway with all necessary groups and that the Scottish Government ‘is keen to play our role’ in protecting BiFab’s multi-million contract with Beatrice wind farm.
He said:”It’s obviously at the very sensitive and delicate stage but we’ve had one round table discussion with all the partners this morning, and with BiFab of course, and all the shareholders and participants in the Beatrice project to see what movement can be made to provide immediate support for the company and the Scottish Government is keen to play our role in that if we can.
“There will be further discussions throughout the day. We’re looking for all partners at the table to act in good faith to ensure we can reach a solution today.”
Unions raised fears yesterday over 600 potential job losses at the offshore engineering firm with three premises in Scotland, which is understood to have filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators.
BiFab builds equipment for the oil and gas industry at two yards in Fife and on the Western Isles, and has been active in the renewable energy sector with a £100million contract to provide jackets for the Beatrice wind farm in the Moray Firth.
Asked whether BiFab going into administration could affect the reputation of the Scottish renewables sector, Wheelhouse said: “I’d rather think of it from the point of view that BiFab is actually a really important company from the supply chain. I think it’s in the interests of developers and tier one contractors to ensure that there are strong businesses in Scotland that can supply content because it’s because it’s an extremely important part of the contract between consumer’s who’re paying for electricity – the Scottish people – and where sites are located so that there is a strong economic impact for Scotland.
“I think BiFab, and other businesses such as Global Energy at Nigg and Babcock of course, have a strong role to play is supporting these key contracts to be delivered here. I think it’s important for developers that the economic impact is demonstrated and I think that is recognised.”
Speaking specifically about the £100million contract Wheelhouse was keen to have the involvement of SSE in ensuring that the contract is honoured between the two companies.
He said: “Companies like SSE have gone to some length to ensure that Scottish contractors are involved in Beatrice and it’s important they see that through and that we help the company to deliver the essential jackets that are required for the project.”