North Sea oil rig deal will create 1,000 Tyneside jobs

A £150m oil rig deal between US oil group Apache and engineering contractor Offshore Group Newcastle (OGN) will create 1,000 jobs in the North-east over the next 20 months.

The new oil platform, in the Forties field 110 miles east of Aberdeen, will be "bridge-linked" to Apache's existing Forties Alpha facility.

The additional installation will be designed and built at the mothballed 75-acre Hadrian Yard on the River Tyne, boosting skilled jobs in the region and pumping about £40m into the local supply chain, OGN said yesterday.

The chairman Dennis Clark said: "The North Sea oil and gas market is coming back to life and infrastructure investment looks set to increase further, which is great for Tyneside and the North-east region."

Once construction is completed in July 2012, the platform will be towed out to Forties for installation. It will give Apache 18 new slots for drilling development wells to boost output from the field.

The deal was welcomed by politicians. "As well as bringing investment and jobs to the North-east, projects like this play a vital role in ensuring we have secure energy supplies throughout the UK," Charles Hendry, the Coalition Government's energy minister, said yesterday.

"Although we are moving towards a low carbon future, we will remain dependent on oil and gas for years to come, and this Government is resolved in encouraging the safe development of our resources in the North Sea."

Nick Brown, the local MP for Newcastle East, said: "This is a big boost for jobs on the north bank of the River Tyne."