Cygnus gas project is £1bn boost for North Sea

The Cygnus gas project will add more than one billion pounds to the UK economy. Picture: Contributed
The Cygnus gas project will add more than one billion pounds to the UK economy. Picture: Contributed
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THE giant Cygnus gas project will create or secure almost 1,500 Scottish jobs and pump more than £1 billion into the UK economy, according to a report published to mark the start of drilling at the North Sea site.

The study by Oxford Economics for part-owner Centrica, released today, found that the scheme will add £1.29bn to the UK economy and support more than 4,820 skilled jobs during its five-year construction period.

It said economic benefits will be felt across the UK, in particular throughout Scotland and north-east England, where 19,000 tonnes of offshore infrastructure is being built at yards in Fife, the Highlands and Hartlepool. In Scotland, where one platform and the bases for all four platforms are being built, £323 million will be generated in the economy, securing 1,450 jobs.

Adrian Cooper, chief executive of Oxford Economics, said: “The Cygnus North Sea project is already supporting valuable income and employment opportunities in the north-east, in Scotland and throughout the UK, even though the gas production process itself has yet to start. The benefits are being felt not just by those directly involved in the design and build of the required infrastructure, but also by suppliers of goods and ­services of all kinds to those contractors.”

Scottish companies involved in the construction phase include Burntisland Fabrication, which is providing jackets and piles for the platforms, as well as the construction of the quarters and utilities platform.

The work will be undertaken at their facilities in Methil and Burntisland in Fife, and Arnish on the Isle of Lewis.

Cygnus is the UK’s largest gas field discovery in the southern region of the North Sea in the past 25 years. It is operated by co-owner GDF Suez, with Scottish Gas parent Centrica holding the biggest stake and Norway’s Bayerngas also involved.

At its peak, the project, which was sanctioned in 2012, should produce enough gas to meet the demand of about 1.5 million UK homes.

The report comes as drilling begins at the Cygnus field, following a successful installation campaign which has seen one platform and the jackets for a further two platforms safely in place.

Colette Cohen, a senior vice-­president at Centrica Energy, said: “This report underlines how significant an impact the Cygnus project is having across the UK both in terms of investment and jobs, as well as strengthening our security of gas supply.”

The report claims that, across the rest of the UK, the spending of people employed by the Cygnus partners and contractors will support 1,540 jobs, adding £315.8m to the economy.

Jacqueline Law, a partner at Scottish law firm Aberdein Considine, said: “The jobs and investment coming from Cygnus are welcome respite from what has been a gloomy year of news and forecasts for the North Sea. The basin has been crying out for a vote of confidence from one of its key players, and the report confirms just how big a shot in the arm this project is for Scotland. Major projects like this prove there is still plenty of life – and profit – in our oil and gas sector.”