Former BiFab yard in Methil to produce wind turbine generator jacket foundations

Harland & Wolff has been awarded a contract by Saipem Limited for the fabrication and load-out of eight wind turbine generator (WTG) jacket foundations.

Former BiFab yard in Methil to produce wind turbine generator jacket foundations

The jacket foundations will service the EDF Renewables and ESB owned Neart na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Farm project located in the outer Firth of Forth. The contract schedule is due to commence from July 1 and is anticipated to create around 290 direct and indirect jobs.

The works for fabrication, consolidation and load-out of the eight WTG jacket foundations will principally be conducted at Harland and Wolff’s newly acquired Methil facilities from Burntisland Fabrication (BiFab), which fell into administration last year. 

Harland & Wolff said its multi-site approach can reduced fabrication timelines by as much as 30% – offering project developers a faster route to project monetisation and de-risking fabrication projects by spreading work across three distinct but close-proximity geographies. Opportunities to further optimise the programme and make the contract more cost-effective are being explored and could involve Harland & Wolff and Saipem working jointly to spread additional workstreams across Harland & Wolff’s three other sites in Belfast, Arnish and Appledore.

John Wood, CEO of InfraStrata, the owner of the Harland & Wolff shipyards, said: “We are delighted to have entered into this contract with Saipem and I believe that this contract paves the way for the execution and delivery of future fabrication contracts, a significant number of which are currently in advanced negotiations.

“The geographical proximity of our Methil facility to the North Sea makes it an ideal site for fabrication and load-out to wind farm projects such as this. More importantly, it validates our strategic vision of expanding the Group’s fabrication footprint into regions that are strategically located within proximity to major wind farm projects. This will enable us to spread workstreams across our facilities to drive down costs, deliver against tight schedules and, crucially, align ourselves to the government’s goal of providing wind generated power to all homes in the UK by 2030.

“I am confident that this is only the beginning of a stream of projects in our pipeline that we expect to come to fruition. We are hugely excited about the massive potential that this first contract has unlocked, and we look forward to working with Saipem to successfully deliver under it.”

Welcoming the creation of jobs, STUC general secretary Rozanne Foyer said: “This is a vindication of the relentless campaigning of workers in Fife and the Western Isles and the tenacity of the unions, GMB and Unite, who represent them. They refused to give up as, time after time, hurdles were thrown in their path.  It is good news for workers in Fife and, we hope, at Arnish too.

“We have always said that there can and must be a future for the construction part of the renewables supply chain in Scotland. This provides some hope.

“It is of course one small part of what must develop into an industrial strategy for Scotland that ends the off-shoring of supply chain work and creates a plan for jobs.

“We expect the unions to examine the detail of the contract, enter talks with the employer, and to respond in due course.”

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