BiFab yard almost empty

Bifab's yard at Methil
Bifab's yard at Methil
  • Yard in crisis
  • Methil staff move
  • Work hunt goes on

Methil’s offshore fabrication yard is virtually deserted because of scarcity of work and is now being operated on a care and maintenance basis.

Following further heavy lay-offs through the summer, the remaining BiFab workers at Methil have been transferred to the company’s premises at Burntisland.

It’s not a nice position to be in.

Martin Adam

The workforce there now totals around 190, comprising 120 or so tradesmen and the rest in supervision and management.

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

BiFab’s operations director Martin Adam said the scenario at Methil would continue until there was a hopeful break in the market, which could be in the first quarter of 2016.

At present, the Burntisland workers are employed on a small contract for AMEC/BP, which is due to last until the final sail-out in May next year.

However, bosses were determined, as ever, not to give up and to keep tendering for what was available and keep the firm’s reputation to the fore, in the hope of bringing back some job security and more viability to the industry in Scotland.

The firm, as previously reported in the Mail, is still hopeful of securing at least part of a major contract for the Beatrice project in the outer Moray Firth.

SSE Renewables is the client and the job involves 84 jacket structures, weighing around 800 tonnes each.

Tendering has begun – but Bifab won’t know until the end of this year if it has been successful.

Company chiefs were very aware they may have to confront an extremely difficult situation if they did not win that order.

But, so far, said Mr Adam, no discussions over what might happen then had taken place at board level.

“It’s not a nice position to be in – but the yard has potential and we need to ensure we have capacity for fabrication when fabrication comes back into the picture,” he told the Mail.

The management and workforce, he added, had to “work keenly together” to ensure business was in the best shape.