Offshore industry must look further afield

The UK’s offshore engineering industry needs to look beyond the North Sea to survive, Parliament was told this week. The message emerged in an adjournment debate on Wednesday, held following Barmac’s announcement last month that it will shed 3,000 jobs at its Nigg and Ardersier fabrication yards in north-east Scotland. The company blamed lack of […]

The UK’s offshore engineering industry needs to look beyond the North Sea to survive, Parliament was told this week.

The message emerged in an adjournment debate on Wednesday, held following Barmac’s announcement last month that it will shed 3,000 jobs at its Nigg and Ardersier fabrication yards in north-east Scotland. The company blamed lack of orders for the move.

Dari Taylor, Labour MP for Stockton South, said there was also `serious trauma’ on Teesside, where the industry employed 8,000 and the local economy was facing a loss of £220m.

Energy Minister Helen Liddell said the Barmac announcement highlighted the challenges in the mature offshore province of the North Sea, where fewer and fewer large facilities would be required.

`We must recognise the change and implement programmes to encourage diversification,’ she said. Recent initiatives to boost exports of UK offshore products and services would be crucial, she added.

Andrew Stunell, Liberal Democrat energy spokesman, urged the Government to act swiftly to enable the yards to diversify into other energy technologies, such as wind and wave power, and to take early advantage of North Sea platform decommissioning.