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Methil yard leads from the front

Visit to BiFab in Methil, May 2014, by Energy Minister Michael Fallon (second right in yellow) with other officials including managing director John Robertson, second left

Visit to BiFab in Methil, May 2014, by Energy Minister Michael Fallon (second right in yellow) with other officials including managing director John Robertson, second left

The BiFab fabrication yard at Methil , and others like it on the Forth, are leading the 
resurgence of British manufacturing.

Energy Minister Michael Fallon said Fife was at the heart of the industry during a Friday morning tour of the BiFab premises.

And he said yards like it had “a big future”.

Mr Fallon was in Levenmouth to see progress on “the construction of the first major oil and gas jacket for a generation”.

He said he was “stunned” by the scale of operations at BiFab, in which North Sea clients had placed much faith.

“This is a revival of manufacturing in our country, it’s happening in the Forth, and it’s great to see,” he said.

“Fife is right at the centre of this industry and the Forth is very well positioned, right in the middle of North Sea development.”

If firms such as BiFab could continue to win the large contracts, said Mr Fallon, they could play a big part in remaining North Sea fabrication.

“I see a big future for yards like this,” he added.

Oil and gas was a crucial industry alongside renewables and BiFab could have a significant role in both.

The Methil yard was a fine example of success in itself, added Mr Fallon.

“This is a fantastic story, to go from 1100 jobs to 1800 jobs inn 10 years,” he said.

Yards which could tackle the biggest projects symbolised the regeneration of manufacturing, while oil and gas, and many technologies perfected in the North Sea, were “directly applicable” to reneweables.

“There is plenty of oil and gas left in the North Sea and we are determined to maximise the recovery of it – the remaining 20 million barrels or so – and it’s great to see British yards leading from the front,” said Mr Fallon.

“It’s fantastic to see the Forth at work, building platforms and jackets here.”

On the question of the independence referendum, Mr Fallon hoped to see a definitive ‘no’ vote which would put an end to the issue for a generation or so.

“There is too much at stake here,” he added. “The scale of North Sea exploration is only possible when provided by a UK-wide Treasury.

“It has to be done on a UK basis. It’s the best hope for jobs in the Forth and in the industry generally.”

 

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