Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Minister Must Do Something

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Minister Must Do Something

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter McCusker Reporter

FOREIGN tax breaks are putting hundreds of Tyneside engineering jobs at risk - and Ministers have just months to save them.

A few years ago, at the height of its operations, OGN fabricators had over 3,000 workers at its Wallsend base and supported hundreds more in the North East supply chain.

Last month a multi-million pound contract to revamp the Enquest Producer, a floating production vessel, set sail for the Alma/Galia field in the-North Sea, and OGN now has 1,250 workers on its two remaining contracts.

If no more work is found before the final one of these is completed in November then the remaining staff will be laid off and the yard closed.

Dennis Clark, chairman of the OGN Group, which is based in the former Hadrian shipyard in Wallsend, said: "We are running out of work.

"This is the most serious position the industry has been in for 15 years. Our industry is on the brink of extinction. It is that serious."

OGN and the UK's three remaining fabricating yards, Heerema in Hartlepool, Burntisland in Fyfe and SLP in Lowestoft are all tendering for three major projects.

Mr Clark, added: "We are running down and it's a similar picture across the main fabrication yards in the UK. We will all close down if these three projects are awarded overseas.

"We are in the frame for the three contracts but if we don't win this work then we will just close, and if the other UK fabricators miss out then effectively the industry in the UK will be dead."

OGN and the other fabricators are hoping to win work on the PS2bn Maersk Culzean project, Nexen's Buzzard development and Chevron's enhanced oil recovery project on the Captain Field.

But while almost three-quarters of oil platforms in theNorth Sea were built in the region much of the fabrication now ends up in Italy, Korea, Spain, Dubai and Holland. …

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