Major refinery contract awarded to huge British engineering firm

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 11 Oct 2017

TOTAL Lindsey Oil Refinery’s multi-million pound principal maintenance contract has been awarded to British giant Wood Group.

The five year deal will see the Aberdeen-headquartered business head up mechanical, electrical and instrumentation works in what is the latest element of a wide-ranging project to secure the future of the huge plant.

About 100 staff are expected to transfer from previous contractor, US-owned Jacobs, ahead of the January 1 start date.

The completion of the open tender process comes immediately after Wood’s £2.2 billion “transformational acquisition” of Amec Foster Wheeler, which has created a global leader in the delivery of project, engineering and technical services to energy and industrial markets.

It is also part of the business’s strategic move to become less reliant on upstream oil and gas work, having been hit by the price drop in the oil market three years ago.

New Lindsey Oil Refinery general manager Jean-Marc Durand said it was part of the “overall plan to continue improving refinery performance”. He said: “It is a new partnership on maintenance activity and it brings a way to improve the profile of the refinery.

“We have reshuffled the units, reshuffled the organisation and created projects that bring value and increase efficiency. Maintenance is one of the main activities and when we put all this together it is creating a firm future for this plant.”

He said Jacobs, a long-term contractor on the North Killingholme site, was still an important partner when it came to project work and turnaround activity. 

Wood is now starting to mobilise on the refinery, with the presence ramping up ahead of the official handover. “We are following this process to make sure it goes smoothly and everyone gets the opportunity and all processes are managed accordingly,” Mr Durand said.

The opportunity first presented itself in early 2016 when the process began. Jerome Arnaud, maintenance manager, said: “The main objective was to sustain and maintain our strength of maintenance, while keeping our excellent safety record.” Underlining a desire for strong culture, motivation and innovation, he said: “We needed to bring new methods on to the site to improve efficiencies, to increase quality and make it right the first time. Another big area where we want to improve is in scheduling of all the works, and we want to work on the capabilities of the team on site and upskill and develop the skills to be better, more efficient and of better quality.”   

Wood, which has just dropped the ‘Group’ element of the brand, recently held a major supplier day in Grimsby, with bosses encouraged by the response. They have committed to an apprenticeship programme and have been impressed with Catch at Stallingborough, where an existing training provider in Aberdeen, AIS, has a presence. 

Tom Gilchrist, Wood’s operations and maintenance director, said: “We have seen it as a very fair process, where we have been able to get good engagement with site personnel and Total staff, to really get a handle on the site. 

“What is really important for us is winning the work and onboarding the people to become good employees during a safe transition. There is still a job to do, with three months of hard work while we mobilise.

“This is a positive story around upskilling, and people trying to work in new ways. We do think the group are capable, we have heard a lot of positives.  

“It is exciting for us to win this work. We have worked in the Humber, but we are not as well known. We are trying to change that. There are a lot of people who want to work with us. We were hopeful we had done enough to win the contract, now we have got to deliver on what we say we can. That is our commitment to Total. There is also a commitment to the local area. This is not about running a project out of Aberdeen, this is for the Humber area, the heartland of England.” 

There is an option to extend the contract for a further two years.

Robin Watson, chief executive of Wood said: “We are strategically focused on leveraging our proven offshore track record of strong service, to broaden our downstream footprint in the UK; and this contract win achieves this. “It was secured by the clear demonstration of our commitment to safety through efficient delivery of our innovative range of services to the oil and gas industry. “Our extensive capabilities in offshore maintenance gained from over two decades of working with Total, position us uniquely to maximise the productivity while maintaining the integrity of this significant asset.”

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