The Highlands and Islands of Scotland have garnered a vast amount of fabrication experience through nearly 40 years of providing the products and skills required by the oil and gas industry. Capabilities span pipelines, subsea structures, process modules, ancillary equipment and components.

Key Facilities

In addition to the numerous supporting facilities provided by individual companies there are four major centres where fabrication can be undertaken:

  • Wester, near Wick in Caithness, where Subsea 7 has been creating pipeline bundles for 30 years. The site at Wester extends 7.8km inland, with rail tracks laid to move the pipeline bundles they fabricate. They have three fabrication shops, two of which have dedicated overhead cranes and they have four separate railway tracks, two of 7,700m, one of 6,000m and another of 5,800m.
  • At Evanton, on the Cromarty Firth in Ross-shire, where Technip has one of its five spoolbases. The base comprises a 1,300m length onshore spoolbase facility with a causeway extension also of 1,300m. The site focuses on the fabrication and spooling of rigid pipe onto vessels with reel-lay capability, such as Technip's pipe-lay vessel, Apache.
  • Arnish Point, at Stornoway on Lewis, operated by Burntisland Fabrications. The facility has been refurbished over several years to provide a modern industrial centre, at the centre of which is a 12,000sq m manufacturing unit. 1,000 tonnes of steel per week can be processed here and structures of 3,000 tonnes have been loaded-out from the quay.
  • Nigg Yard, in Ross-shire. In recent years Nigg has been used primarily for renewables-related fabrication, including turbine towers and offshore turbine monopiles. It has also been the site of major oil-related fabrication activity in the past and retains such potential. Its location at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth gives deep water access to strategic shipping routes in the North Sea. The yard’s 66-hectare operational area incorporates one of Europe’s largest dry docks.

Activity Snapshots

Examples of the region’s contribution to recent oil industry requirements include:

  • Global Energy Group – comprising 10 companies focusing on engineering, fabrication, rig repair and inspection, resource management, supply chain solutions and pipeline services – has recently upgraded its facilities at Isleburn and its fabrication and engineering company based at Evanton. In 2009, Global announced that Isleburn had secured a number of new orders for:
  • Subsea 7 Centrica – four manifolds and spools
  • Subsea 7 Valhall – five towheads and seven buoyancy tanks
  • Single Buoy Moorings – 1,000+ tons of heavy fabrication
  • Shell – five-year frame agreement for all their North Sea subsea equipment, with first project a large manifold
  • Ocean Power Technologies – one tidal machine, with an option on a second
  • At Global’s Training Academy at Isleburn, partnered by North Highland College, trainees tackle a range of SVQ qualifications in welding, plating and pipe-fitting.
  • In May 2009, Technip announced that they had secured a contract from BHP Billiton for the fabrication, transportation and installation of a flow-line, and the transportation and installation of an umbilical, for the Angostura gas project – operated offshore from Trinidad & Tobago by BHP – with the Evanton base responsible for welding the flow-line.
  • In 2009, Subsea 7 worked on their 61st bundle at Wester. The largest structures they have built there were two 7.5km pipeline bundles.
  • Lerwick Engineering & Fabrication Ltd, Shetland has over 25 years of engineering experience. During 2009 they completed work for Technip, for BP on their Sullom Voe Oil Terminal and provided fabrication and engineering assistance to Aker Offshore for the Frigg Cessation Decommissioning Project.
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