BiFab to receive no funding from Scottish Government pot

Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, made the announcement at BiFab on Wednesday. (Pic: George McLuskie)
Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, made the announcement at BiFab on Wednesday. (Pic: George McLuskie)

Despite a national funding announcement launched at Fife Energy Park, BiFab claims it will receive no money from the Scottish Government.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, was at the Methil yard last week to announce a £1.5 million investment into the Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) Programme.

However, BiFab – which has struggled to maintain constant employment at the site – maintains it will not receive a penny from the deal.

Iain Scrimger, business development manager, said: “BiFab confirms not to have received any funding as part of the MSP Paul Wheelhouse announcement.”

He added: “Using this opportunity to welcome the Minister to site to present our company and demonstrate the work currently being under taken in Fife, along with the impact the offshore renewables industry has on local companies and employment, was a good message for Mr Wheelhouse to take away with him.”

The Mail approached the Scottish Government to ask why the yard was chosen to make the announcement, given BiFab’s claim.

A spokesman stated BiFab was participating in one OWA project and would receive some of the funding, but did not say how much.

The OWA project is a research, development, and demonstration programme which aims to prove that welds are more durable than currently estimated, thereby decreasing the weight of the jacket structures and reducing costs.

BiFab is currently involved in the construction of the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm, providing 26 jacket substructures to support the wind turbine generators, and two to support offshore transformer module. The deal, which was announced in June last year, protected 200 jobs at BiFab and is due to end in April 2018.

In 2015 Methil’s offshore fabrication yard was virtually deserted because of scarcity of work.

The company paid off around 2300 contractors and staff in a 10 month-period with the decline in the industry forced by falling oil prices and also large contracts regularly being awarded to overseas competitors.

While BiFab currently benefits from the Beatrice contract, Iain warned that the project would soon be coming to an end.

He added: “BiFab has an important impact on is local communities, as well as local supply chain companies whom have worked, supported and grown with BiFab though this journey and we are keen to this continue. Winning future energy projects for manufacture in Fife would not just bring economic impact for further investment in the regeneration of the Fife Energy Park and the immediate East Coast area, but the whole of Scotland.”