Belfast Telegraph

Major oil rig contract for shipyard

Harland and Wolff shipyard has won a major contract to work on an oil rig in a multi-million pound boost to the Northern Ireland economy.

Around 1,000 contractors will be employed to overhaul the structure for up to 10 weeks and 60 permanent staff are to be recruited, the Belfast firm announced. It is due to arrive later this week.

The Byford Dolphin offshore drilling unit previously underwent work in the city a decade ago. Several major modifications are planned, including the addition of two new columns and four buoyancy boxes for stability.

Director of ship and offshore unit repair James Lappin said: This is a significant project for Harland and Wolff and for Northern Ireland.

"As well as employment opportunities, the supply chain within Northern Ireland will see significant activity in support of the project.

"Local engineering firms will have sub-contract opportunities for manufacture and supply of services, suppliers will provide vast quantities of materials, hotels and hospitality will accommodate the hundreds of specialist sub-contractors that follow these large contracts, wherever they are awarded.

"In short, tens of millions of pounds will flow through the local economy."

Last year, another rig - Blackford Dolphin, owned by the same company - was in the Belfast shipyard for six months.

Graeme Murray, managing director of Dolphin Drilling Limited, said: "We are pleased to build upon the relationship with Harland and Wolff following the work completed on the Blackford Dolphin and look forward to delivering the Byford back into service following a successful renewal survey on time and within budget."

Encouraged by strong performances in the offshore oil, gas and renewable energy sectors, the shipyard has begun a recruitment drive that will take its permanent staff levels up by over 60 people.

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