Almost 300 jobs created as Methil site earmarked for project

Construction firm says Fife site will be used for the fabrication and load-out of eight wind turbine generator foundation jackets.

Almost 300 jobs created as Methil site earmarked for project E-mail
Computer generated image of NnG Jackets on the cargo barges at Methil.

Almost 300 jobs are being created at the former BiFab yard in Methil by a construction firm awarded a major contract.

Harland & Wolff says it will use its newly acquired facilities in Fife to carry out the fabrication and load-out of eight wind turbine generator (WTG) foundation jackets.

Harland & Wolff announced on Friday it had signed a contract with Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) Offshore Wind Limited (jointly owned by EDF Renewables and ESB), its tier-one service provider, Saipem, and InfraStrata to carry out the work, which will begin on July 1.

The move will create around 290 direct and indirect Scottish jobs.

Additional support may be provided as required by the company’s other facilities in Arnish, on the Isle of Lewis, Belfast, and Appledore, in the south of England.

Matthias Haag, NnG Project Director, said: “This is an important day, for the offshore wind sector in Scotland and for our project. When we announced our main contractors in 2019, we made clear our commitment to the Scottish supply chain and the role it has to play in the construction of NnG.

“That’s why this contract signing is such good news. We are pleased the contract has been awarded to Harland & Wolff with the bulk of the work taking place in Scotland.

“With the Port of Dundee supporting the project as NnG’s marine hub, the Port of Leith as the marshalling point for the pile casings and planning permission recently granted for an operations and maintenance base at Eyemouth Harbour, Harland & Wolff joining our project is yet further evidence of our commitment to Scotland.”

Earlier this year, InfraStrata took over steel fabrication sites in Methil and Arnish from Burntisland Fabrications (BiFab) – running them under the Harland & Wolff brand.

But the firm did not buy the BiFab yard in Burntisland, Fife, as part of the £850,000 deal.

BiFab was put into administration last year while owned by the Scottish Government and a Canadian firm after failing to secure key contracts.

InfraStrata wants to focus on wind-farm projects and shipbuilding.

Offshore construction for NnG started in August last year with the installation of casings for the piles and preparation of the seabed in advance of the arrival of the steel foundation jackets.

John Wood, CEO of InfraStrata, said: “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 close 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.”

The contract has also been welcomed by staff unions.

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.”

GMB and Unite joint trade union secretaries Gary Smith and Pat Rafferty said: “This is a welcome development.

“A working yard is better than an empty yard, but it has to be the first steps in a long journey of investment and contracts for our offshore wind supply chain.

“We need to take the opportunity now to work together and set out an industrial plan for Scotland’s future. It’s the vital ingredient that has been missing since devolution and we can’t succeed without it.”