MP Iain Wright visits Heerema Hartlepool

18 February 2014, Hartlepool

MP welcomes 250 jobs boost at Hartlepool yard for Cygnus North Sea project

Iain Wright, Shadow Minister for Industry and MP for Hartlepool today welcomed the 250 extra jobs created by the Cygnus gas development. 

Cygnus, which represents an investment of around £1.4billion by operator GDF SUEZ E&P UK and partners Centrica Energy and Bayerngas, is the largest southern gas basin discovery for 25 years and at peak will produce enough gas to meet the needs of 1.5million UK homes.  80% of the project spend is being invested in the UK. 

The additional jobs have been created by Heerema Fabrication Group at its yard near Hartlepool, where the company has nearly completed work on the 1,640-tonne wellhead topsides for Cygnus Alpha.  At peak, around 700 people will now be working on additional infrastructure for Cygnus at the yard in 2014 and 2015. 

During a visit to the yard today, the MP had the opportunity to view progress on the development and meet some of the site workers, including engineers, welders and fabrication workers.  The Cygnus development is creating more than 4,000 jobs across the supply chain in total. 

Iain Wright, Shadow Minister for Industry and Labour MP for Hartlepool said: “The Cygnus Alpha wellhead platform is a great example of British engineering and I welcome the extra 250 jobs that have been created here, bringing the total number to 700.  The completion of this impressive platform marks an important milestone in the project. “We need to ensure that the skills, supply chain and industrial capability we have continue to make Britain a leading player in the world for this type of engineering and manufacturing.  A long-term industrial strategy will help us achieve that.” 

John Rogers, Cygnus Project Manager, GDF SUEZ E&P UK, said: “Cygnus is a flagship for the UK’s excellence in offshore design, engineering and construction.   The project is creating 4,000 direct and indirect jobs across the UK during construction and will deliver 5% of UK domestic gas production at its peak.  Topside fabrication is progressing safely and to time and we are on track for the first sailaways and installations at the end of March and April respectively.”

Greg McKenna, Director of Non-Operated Assets at Centrica Energy E&P, said:  “We were delighted to host a senior Shadow Minister to the yard today and update him on the progress of this major project.  The Cygnus development represents an important source of UK jobs, and will have a significant role to play in providing gas to around 1.5 million UK homes.” 

Gerry Harrison, Managing Director, Bayerngas UK, commented:  “Although we have many more months of construction and commissioning ahead of us, we are maintaining our schedule and seeing good progress.  We support each of the construction sites in their focus on safe delivery of the project.” 

Koos-Jan van Brouwershaven, Chief Executive Officer of Heerema Fabrication Group, commented:  “It has been a great opportunity for us to welcome the Shadow Minister at our Hartlepool yard and to show him the cutting edge work we are doing to support our clients and the UK’s offshore industry to deliver a high quality and safe product.  The magnitude of the Cygnus project and the nearly completed first Cygnus topside at our yard showed him how important it is to keep the offshore construction industry here, and as a result jobs, expertise and to increase local businesses in the Hartlepool area.” 

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 targeted for late 2015. 

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 four offshore platforms for the Cygnus project in the Southern North Sea. 

Fabrication of the 1,640 tonne wellhead topsides is due to complete in March, with loadout scheduled for later that month. The 4,400 tonne process and utilities topsides for the Alpha platform are also 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. 

Due to be in production by the end of 2015 and led by operator GDF SUEZ E&P UK (38.75%) with partners Centrica (48.75%) and Bayerngas (12.5%), the Cygnus field is the largest discovery in the Southern North Sea in 25 years.  Peak gas production from 2016 is expected to meet the demand from almost 1.5 million homes in the country.  

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. 

At plateau in 2016, Cygnus will be the UK's second largest producing gas field and will account for about 9% of the GDF SUEZ Group’s global gas production.