PRIME Minister David Cameron was in Methil on Tuesday to oversee the signing of a contract which will bring around 300 new jobs to Fife.
BiFab has secured a £145 million North Sea oil and gas contract with Premier Oil, with much of the work being carried out at the company’s yards in Methil and Burntisland.
It’s the largest contract in BiFab’s 12-year history and will provide work until April 2014, helping to bridge the gap until more contracts in the renewables sector will hopefully come on stream, expected to be around 2015 or 2016.
Mr Cameron, who was joined by Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, met workers at the Methil yard and told them contracts like this were vital for the economy.
He said: “Our economy had become far too reliant on financial services and banking, rather than actually making things.
“Here, what you are doing over these coming years, if everything goes well in the oil and the renewables sector, is really important, high quality manufacturing.”
The contract involves BiFab constructing both a 3500 tonne topside module and 8000 tonne jacket for Premier Oil’s Solan development west of Shetland.
The contract is due for completion in April 2014 and will create a total of 350 jobs, with around 40 being based at BiFab’s Arnish yard on the Isle of Lewis.
Premier Oil chief executive Simon Lockett said there had been competition for the contract from abroad, but BiFab’s bid had been the most impressive.
He said: “The team here put together a very good package which allowed us to take this decision. It’s in our best interests that the industry is strong in Scotland, with businesses such as BiFab working with us.”
BiFab chief executive John Robertson said: “We are thankful new, innovative companies like Premier Oil are developing these projects, deep water projects in the west of Shetland, and that they are keeping an open mind of where the work goes.
“Premier Oil has a strong drive wherever possible to increase UK contracts.”
Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance welcomed the awarding of the contract to BiFab, creating much-needed jobs and apprenticeships.
He said: “It’s good news for Methil and Burntisland.
‘‘It will help tackle youth unemployment and the extra spending power will boost the local economy.”
Councillor Kay Carrington, executive member for Fife Council’s business, enterprise, economy and planning, also welcomed the new contract for BiFab.
She said: “I visited BiFab in June and was impressed by their facility and their ambitious plans for the future.
“This news is a real vote of confidence in the company and further good news for the Fife Energy Park which has a track record in delivering the biggest projects for both renewables and oil and gas sectors.”