Flourishing Hartlepool yard to take on hundreds more workers to build giant gas platforms

A Heerema rig making its way from Hartlepool

A Heerema rig making its way from Hartlepool

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A FLOURISHING Hartlepool fabrication yard is taking on hundreds more workers as it builds a string of giant structures for a gas field.

Three hundred more people will be joining the workforce at Heerema Hartlepool, which is handling a massive order to build platforms for the largest gas field to have been discovered in the North Sea for decades.

The first part of the contract, an 80ft platform, sailed out of the Heerema Hartlepool yard yesterday. It is on its way to the Cygnus gas site in the southern North Sea.

But that was just the start of the deal that Heerema has for the Cygnus field.

The rest of the package is so large that the yard will have a peak workforce of 1,000 people later this year, including some which are sub-contracted.

A spokesman for Heerema said: “We will peak at around 1,000 people later this year.”

He said the recruitment of the extra workers will happen between next month and a peak in November, in time for the completion of the Cygnus deal by the middle of next year.

The spokesman added: “It is a very exciting time for Heerema Hartlepool and the wider community. There is a supply chain that feeds in to Heerema and it is not just ourselves, it is the local economy as well.”

Yesterday, Heerema Hartlepool said goodbye to the 1,700 tonne topsides (the jacket structure for an offshore platform) which has dominated the town skyline for weeks.

Its two-day journey will take it to the Cygnus site which is operated by business partners GDF SUEZ, Centrica and Bayerngas. At its peak, the Cygnus field will produce enough gas to meet the needs of 1.5 million UK homes.

The workers are needed because the main part of the Cygnus deal with Heerema Hartlepool is still being constructed at the town’s yard.

Still to come are the 3,500 tonnes Brave Wellhead topsides, the 4,400 tonnes Alpha Processing Utilities topsides, and the 2,300 tonnes Alpha Compression Unit. The yard is also constructing two bridges and a flare stack as part of the deal.

But the Heerema Hartlepool team were today delighted at the completition of the first part of the deal.

“With it being the first, it is a major milestone for the project,” said the spokesman.