Cygnus Alpha topsides nearing completion

20 December 2013, Hartlepool

The Cygnus project, which will develop the largest gas discovery in the Southern North Sea in the last 25 years is about to reach the next milestone. Construction of the Cygnus Alpha Platform, the first of four platforms for the Cygnus field, is nearing completion at Heerema’s fabrication yard in Hartlepool.

The 1,640 tonne Cygnus Alpha Wellhead topsides will leave the fabrication hall of Heerema Hartlepool’s Victoria Dock facility today. Further work, including installation of the platform crane, mechanical completion and commissioning activities, will be completed on the dock side. The Alpha Wellhead topsides, at 23 x 23 x 10 metres in size is scheduled for completion in Spring 2014.

In August 2012, GDF SUEZ E&P UK and its partners, Centrica Energy and Bayerngas, appointed Heerema Fabrication Group’s Hartlepool yard to build three topsides, a compression module, two bridges and a flare tower for the four offshore platforms for the Cygnus project.

The 4,400 tonne process and utilities topsides for the Alpha platform are also currently under construction, as well as the 3,500 tonne wellhead topsides for the Bravo platform, both with a scheduled delivery in the first half of 2015.

The Cygnus project will secure around 450 jobs in the local area and involve more than one million man hours of fabrication at Heerema’s Hartlepool site for the project during 2014.

Jean-Claude Perdigues, Managing Director of GDF SUEZ E&P UK, said: “The move-out of the Alpha Wellhead topsides is a significant step in the Cygnus project. Construction is running on schedule and we are on track to meet our target of first gas in 2015. Heerema’s experience in fabricating offshore structures and the skill of the Hartlepool workforce has been a significant factor in the success of this phase of the development.”

Greg McKenna, Director of Non Operated Assets UK and Netherlands, Centrica Energy, said “Today is an important milestone in the Cygnus project, which at peak will produce enough gas to meet the needs of 1.5 million UK homes. This is the third consecutive project that Centrica Energy has worked on with Heerema here in Hartlepool, securing hundreds of jobs in the local area. We look forward to the safe completion of topsides construction in 2014.

Gerry Harrison, Managing Director of Bayerngas UK said: “This is one of several tangible milestones to have been reached on what is a complex project. We look forward to continued progress and safe installation of the first wellhead platform during 2014”.

Koos-Jan van Brouwershaven, Chief Executive Officer of Heerema Fabrication Group said: “This is the first successful milestone of this large Cygnus project, since the start of the fabrication of the first of four Cygnus topsides in December 2012. The entire year of 2014 will be extremely challenging and busy at Heerema Hartlepool with more than 450 people working on site for the Cygnus project. A safe and timely completion of the topsides construction is of great importance to our customers GDF SUEZ E&P UK, Centrica Energy and Bayerngas and also ensures that the expertise and tradition of offshore platform construction continues in Hartlepool area, while safeguarding employment at our yard.”

Approximately £1.4 billion (GBP) is being invested in the Cygnus project, with the intent to maximise UK-based company content, creating 4,000 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase.The Cygnus Partnership is led by operator GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd (38.75%) with partners Centrica Energy (48.75%) and Bayerngas (12.5%).


  • Cygnus is located in the Southern North Sea, 150 kilometres off the coast of Lincolnshire. It has gross 2P reserves of approximately 18 billion cubic metres. First gas is expected in late 2015.
  • The detailed development concept for the field consists of two drilling centres, four platforms and initially ten development wells; the planned export route is through the ETS pipeline system to the Bacton gas terminal in North Norfolk.
  • The total expected future scope for the Heerema Fabrication Group’s Hartlepool yard will be approximately 10,500 tonnes of fabrication work comprising: 4,400 tonne Process & Utilities (PU) module, two bridges of 200 tonnes and 250 tonnes, a 250 tonne flare tower, a 1,640 tonne Wellhead module and a 1,500 tonne Compression module (which will be installed onto the PU module) all destined for the Cygnus alpha three bridge-linked complex. Fabrication work of the remote Cygnus Bravo development will consist of the 3,500 tonne Wellhead module.