First Minister opens new global pipeline welding centre in Clydebank


  A cutting-edge centre that will develop subsea pipeline technologies for the world’s oil and gas markets has been officially opened by First Minister Alex Salmond.
The world-leading Global Pipeline Welding Development Centre (GPWDC) is the culmination of a £10 million investment by the major offshore energy contractor Subsea 7 in its operations base in Clydebank – a development supported with a grant of £800,000 from Scottish Enterprise.

The GPWDC has already brought 30 new skilled jobs to the area, as Subsea 7 creates innovative pipeline technologies to satisfy increasing market needs associated with oil and gas discoveries increasingly made in deeper water and tougher conditions.

The Subsea 7 facility in Clydebank employs 150 people including more than 65 engineering and project management staff and has more than 30 highly skilled welding technicians working on site. Graduate engineers are recruited from many of Scotland’s leading universities including Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Dundee, Stirling, Napier and the University of West Scotland.

The technology developed in Scotland will be deployed by the subsea oil and gas industry across the globe, in countries such as the UK, Norway, USA, Brazil and West Africa.

Speaking during the official opening of the centre, Mr Salmond said:

“This is a world-class centre developing some of the most advanced pipeline technologies anywhere in the industry, bringing new and skilled employment to Clydebank.

“It reinforces the fact that Scotland is leading the way when it comes to new ideas, new solutions and new developments that will help us meet the technical challenges associated with future oil and gas fields.

“This facility, brought to Scotland by a major offshore energy contractor, clearly demonstrates that Scotland is the place for business investment in innovative development, skills and expertise.

“I am therefore delighted to open this hugely important development centre, which is an exemplar of skilled professionals and researchers working together to improve the way in which oil and gas are extracted for our needs.”

Steve Wisely, Executive Vice President – Commercial, Subsea 7, said the company were “delighted” to be making such a long term investment

He added: “There are many technical challenges associated with the subsea market as oil and gas discoveries are being made in deeper water and harsher environments. 

“The continued development of new pipeline welding technology is therefore a key enabler for Subsea 7 to help meet these challenges where we need to have access to a world-leading research capability.”

Subsea 7 has more than 2,000 employees in Scotland – 700 in Aberdeen, 150 in Wick, 50 in Glasgow in renewables and 150 at the Global Pipeline Welding Development Centre in Clydebank.

Subsea 7 is a seabed-to-surface engineering, construction and services contractor to the offshore energy industry worldwide.

The news comes as another company, Dana Petroleum, announced it had laid the keel for a £265million vessel which will produce and store up to 40,000 barrels of oil a day from the northern North Sea by 2015.

The keel laying of the floating, production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) marks a major milestone for Dana’s Western Isles project.  Dana and its partner Cieco are investing $1.6 billion in a nine-well development of two oil fields called Harris and Barra in the Northern North Sea, 160km east of the Shetlands and 12km west of the Tern field.

Dana’s Group Chief Executive Marcus Richards said: “This is a major milestone for Dana and the Western Isles project.  We aim to significantly grow our production over the next five years and this project is vital to helping us achieve that goal.”

The Western Isles development is estimated to contain recoverable reserves of 45 million barrels of oil equivalent and will significantly increase Dana’s UK production.