Crunch talks held to secure lifeline BiFab contract

Wind farm jackets at a BiFab site in Fife
Wind farm jackets at a BiFab site in Fife

Crunch talks have been held in the hope of securing a major Scottish wind farm project for Burntisland Fabrication (BiFab).

Canadian manufacturer DF Barnes is understood to be battling to win a life-saving deal with Saipem for the construction of some of the 53 turbine jackets needed for the Neart Na Goethe (NnG) wind project off Fife.

It would result in a number of the jackets being built in Scotland instead of Saipem’s yard in Indonesia.

Discussions between DF Barnes, Saipem, project developer EDF Renewables, the Scottish Government and trade unions took place this week following a site visit to BiFab’s yard in Fife.

During the meeting it’s understood attempts were made to convince Saipem to award a portion of the contract to BiFab, but it was reported the Italian firm was “not playing ball”.

Last night DF Barnes said it was “working flat out” to win the lifeline for the firm having missed out on several multi-million pound contracts at the Moray East Offshore Wind Farm and the Kincardine floating wind project.

NnG developer EDF Renewables announced last year the project would create around 500 jobs while also delivering £540 million to the local economy.

DF Barnes is said to “still be confident” of gaining a smaller portion of work from the project.

The Scottish Government, who own a 20% stake in BiFab, refused to confirm how discussions were progressing, but said: “All parties are currently working corroboratively in respect of the ongoing commercial discussions on the NnG project.”

A spokesman for DF Barnes said: “We continue to invest in BiFab and remain in constant dialogue with the Scottish Government who have made considerable investments in the sites.

“So far, we’ve been successful in delivering work to the facility in Arnish and we’re confident that there is more to come.”

An EDF Renewables spokeswoman added that the company was working with government, unions and industry groups “to make the deal a reality”.