Chancellor welcomes new jobs for the North East

Centrica is creating 200 new jobs – part of 4,000 expected across the country - building offshore platforms for the major Cygnus gas project.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon George Osborne MP, today visited a fabrication yard in North East England which is creating 200 new jobs – part of 4,000 expected across the country - building offshore platforms for the major Cygnus gas project. The project was made possible in part by the Government’s decision to offer a tax allowance for large shallow water gas fields.

The Hartlepool yard, run by Heerema Fabrication Group, is one of the first to benefit from the recent announcement by GDF SUEZ, operator, and partners Centrica and Bayerngas to sanction the £1.4 billion Cygnus project.

The Chancellor met with teams currently working at the Hartlepool site to understand more about the work that would be involved. He also discussed the next phases of the Cygnus project with Senior Partnership Management on this inaugural visit to the yard.

Heerema will build three topsides for four offshore platforms for the Cygnus field. Construction work at the site is expected to begin before the end of the year, with detailed design and procurement already underway, as the site prepares to cut first steel on this significant UK development. By 2014, an average of 450 people will be working on site for the Cygnus project alone.

The Cygnus Partnership is led by operator GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd (38.75%) with partners Centrica (48.75%) and Bayerngas (12.5%) who were also on site to welcome the Chancellor.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said:

“I am delighted to officially mark the go-ahead for the £1.4billion Cygnus project, which will deliver 4,000 skilled jobs. It is an example of the Government helping the private sector in the North East create sustainable jobs and lasting industry, replacing the unsustainable public borrowing of the past."

Tino Vinkesteijn, Chief Commercial Officer of Heerema Fabrication Group said:

“The Cygnus project is an enormous boost for Hartlepool and the surrounding area and we are honoured to have been awarded this work. The new contract will deliver hundreds of jobs and will create up to three years of work in the yard, as well as benefitting many more small companies throughout the supply chain. It furthermore ensures the expertise and tradition of offshore construction workmanship in this region.”

Jean-Marie Dauger, Executive Vice-President of Global Gas and LNG at GDF SUEZ said:

“The partnership is investing £1.4 billion to develop the Cygnus Field and the vast majority will be here in the UK where the supply chain is exceptionally strong. The UK Government is providing a compelling investment environment for the gas industry helping to create employment opportunities. GDF SUEZ is delighted to be investing in this Heerema Yard which has a good reputation for delivery and this shows the commitment of GDF SUEZ to the future of the UKCS.”

Centrica Energy Managing Director Mark Hanafin said:

“The Cygnus development represents a significant investment into infrastructure and jobs here in the UK, with the majority of the £1.4 billion spend destined for British companies. Securing long term energy security remains critically important so we value the Government’s commitment on projects like this, as we work to secure UK gas supplies for our customers.”

Gerry Harrison, Managing Director, Bayerngas UK said:

"Bayerngas is very pleased that within just a few weeks of the new tax allowance being announced by the Government, the Cygnus Group has been able to award significant contracts in the UK, securing UK jobs and allowing construction work on the project to commence so quickly.”

Cygnus is the largest gas discovery in the Southern Gas Basin for 25 years and the sixth largest field in the UK by remaining reserves. GDF SUEZ (38.75%) will operate the field with partners Centrica (48.75%) and Bayerngas (12.5%). Production is expected to start in late 2015.

Initial contracts worth £375 million have now been signed by GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd on behalf of the partnership. Of this, £337 million will be invested directly in the UK generating an initial 1,200 jobs, most in the North East.


  • Cygnus is located in the Southern North Sea, 150 kilometres off the coast of Lincolnshire. It has gross 2P reserves of approximately 18 billion cubic metres.
  • The detailed development concept for the field consists of two drilling centres, four platforms and initially ten development wells; the planned export route is through the ETS pipeline system to the Bacton gas terminal in North Norfolk.
  • Heerema was awarded a frame contract from GDF SUEZ E&P UK for the fabrication and commissioning of four topsides for the Cygnus Project on 6 August 2012.
  • The total expected scope for the Heerema Fabrication Group’s Hartlepool yard will be approximately 10,500 tonnes of fabrication work comprising: 3,900 tonne Process & Utilities (PU) module, two bridges of 200 tonnes and 250 tonnes, a 250 tonne flare tower, a 1,600 tonne Wellhead module and a 1,500 tonne Compression module (which will be installed onto the PU module) all destined for the Cygnus Alpha three bridge-linked complex. Fabrication work of the remote Cygnus Bravo development will consist of the 2,800 tonne Wellhead module.
  • Fabrication of the Cygnus Alpha Wellhead topsides is due to start in December 2012. This is to be followed by fabrication of the Cygnus Alpha Processing & Utilities module, bridges and flare tower as well as the Cygnus Bravo Wellhead topsides and fabrication of the Cygnus Alpha Compression module.
  • In 2014 an average of 450 people will be working on site, amounting to more than 1 million man hours of fabrication.

About Heerema Fabrication Group

Heerema Fabrication Group (HFG), headquartered in Zwijndrecht, the Netherlands, is a leading engineering and fabrication contractor for large and complex offshore structures to the global oil & gas and energy industry. HFG owns three large production locations of which one in the United Kingdom (Hartlepool) and two in the Netherlands (Vlissingen and Zwijndrecht), an engineering company in the Netherlands (Zwijndrecht). In addition, HFG owns a fabrication facility in Poland (Opole) for smaller (pre)fabrication work. Heerema Fabrication Group employs over 1,000 people and is part of the Heerema Group.


GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd is an increasingly significant player in oil and gas exploration and production in the UK Continental Shelf. Since entering the region in 1997, the company has built up a substantial portfolio of assets in the Central and Southern North Sea, and West of Shetland, comprising over 40 licenses, 16 as operator.

GDF SUEZ E&P UK is the operator of the Cygnus development, one of the most significant undeveloped gas fields in the North Sea and employs more than 250 staff and contractors in offices in London and Aberdeen.

As part of the GDF SUEZ group, the world’s largest utility company, we share a common vision and a commitment to excellence in energy. The GDF SUEZ group is actively involved in oil and gas exploration and production in 16 countries.


GDF SUEZ develops its businesses (electricity, natural gas, services) around a model based on responsible growth to take up today’s major energy and environmental challenges: meeting energy needs, ensuring the security of supply, fighting against climate change and maximizing the use of resources.

The Group provides highly efficient and innovative solutions to individuals, cities and businesses by relying on diversified gas-supply sources, flexible and low-emission power generation as well as unique expertise in four key sectors: liquefied natural gas, energy efficiency services, independent power production and environmental services.

GDF SUEZ employs 218,900 people worldwide and achieved revenues of €90.7 billion in 2011.The Group is listed on the Paris, Brussels and Luxembourg stock exchanges and is represented in the main international indices: CAC 40, BEL 20, DJ Stoxx 50, DJ Euro Stoxx 50, Euronext 100, FTSE Eurotop 100, MSCI Europe, ASPI Eurozone and ECPI Ethical Index EMU.

About Centrica

Centrica is a top 30 FTSE 100 integrated energy company operating predominately in the UK and North America. Upstream it sources, generates, processes, trades and stores energy. Downstream it supplies gas and electricity to millions of homes and businesses and offers a range of home energy solutions and low carbon products and services. For further information, see

About Bayerngas UK Ltd

Bayerngas UK Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bayerngas Norge AS Group. Bayerngas has upstream operations in Norway, Denmark and the UK. 56 licenses, 5 fields in production and 2 fields under development. The Group has 80 employees with offices near Oslo, London and Copenhagen. The Group was formed in 2006 and is owned by public energy and utility companies in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. The shareholding companies are financially strong and their ownership in upstream activities secures them access to gas throughout the whole value chain. For more information, see