Belfast Telegraph

Brave new world for shipyard but recovery still elusive

Jobs boost as H&W signs two-year deal to build parts for oil rigs

By David Elliott

The resurgence and reinvention of the shipyard which built the Titanic has been confirmed with the announcement of a new two-year contract worth £25m.

Harland and Wolff's deal to build key components for a Norwegian oil platform cements the company's growing credentials in the oil industry and adds to its increasing portfolio of work in the renewable energy sector and in ship fitout and design.

By securing this type of work outside the traditional ship building sector, the world famous company has managed to lift its number of core employees to 130 from 90 only seven years ago.

Including sub-contractors, it now has around 750 workers at the yard on an average day, although at one stage in the past year it had 1,400 people.

The latest contract, with Norwegian firm Kvaerner Verdal AS, will see Harland and Wolff build flotation tanks for two offshore drill platforms: Lundin's 13,400-tonne Edvard Grieg and Total's 14,200-tonne Martin Linge.

The tanks, which can weigh up to 500 tonnes each, attach to the platform jackets, which are the foundations around which the platforms are built.

They'll be installed in 115 metres of water depth within the Norwegian Sector of the North Sea in 2014 for production in 2015.

Harland and Wolff Chief Executive Officer Robert J Cooper said the deal will allow the yard to show what it can do.

"After a series of successful recent projects in the offshore oil, gas and renewable energy sectors, this is a major opportunity for Harland and Wolff to continue to demonstrate its capabilities," he said.

"In July this year we completed the highly successful FPSO SeaRose project ahead of schedule, on budget and with no injuries.

"We are delighted we have secured another important project within this sector and are looking forward to an intense but safe and rewarding project together."

Harland and Wolff Project Manager Trevor McCormick said: "We are proud that Kvaerner have placed their trust in us.

"We understand the vital importance of our elements to the entire project and the consequences of failure. We are fully committed to delivering this project on schedule, to the highest quality and in a safe manner."