Two Northumberland businesses have partnered to launch a multi-million pound offshore engineering project, supplying one of the world’s largest oilfield service firms and creating 60 jobs.
Port of Blyth will host Stocksfield-based IHC Engineering Business (IHC EB) as it constructs a 2,500 tonne vessel pipe laying system - which will eventually be shipped to form part of a large offshore construction vessel being built by Petrofac.
The deal is the third in a series of major contract wins for the Port of Blyth in recent months, and Port chief executive, Martin Lawlor, hopes it will lead to a long-term partnership with IHC.
He explained: “We’ve been talking to IHC for some time, and we’re delighted to be working with such a successful regional company.
“All of the revenue we generate from this project will be put back into the Port to improve our facilities, and set us up for further work of this kind with IHC, and potentially other operators.”
Due to the scale of the construction, Port of Blyth has strengthened its quayside and provide a shed with a “mega door” system, to provide IHC with enough space to carry out the work.
Construction of the pipe laying system is expected to take 12 months, and the final stages of assembly will take place outside due to its size.
IHC EB anticipate the creation of 60 jobs to service the contract, and Mr Lawlor indicated that additional labour may be hired by the Port directly.
Work will take place at the Port’s South Harbour site, occupying a large assembly shed and adjacent compound close to a deep water quay for load out.
Over the 12-month period parts used in the assembly of the system will come directly to the Port from abroad.
Once complete, the 2,500 tonne system will require special transportation on heavy haulage equipment to move it to the quay.
Mr Lawlor added: “We have spent a considerable amount on readying the port for this contract because we see it as a route to future work.
“This is another example of our growing reputation as an offshore energy focused port and with ongoing investments we are becoming an increasingly attractive option for the sector as a whole.”
The partnership with IHC EB is the latest in a line of significant contract wins for Port of Blyth - the latest of which was with international operators Oil Spill Response Limited.
This deal established the Port as one of only a handful of bases, including ports in Singapore and Rio de Janeiro, at which the firm will station its oil spill tackling equipment.
In early October the Port also announced a deal with Stockton’s Reef Subsea to establish a mobilisation facility for equipment which is used for installing and trenching flexible products, such as submarine power cables, umbilicals and pipelines.