Steel giant Corus wins £200m order

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The Independent Online

Steel giant Corus has won an order worth almost £200 million to supply pipes to energy giant Total for a new gas field project, it was announced today.

The company said over 150,000 tonnes of pipeline will be produced at its site in Hartlepool for the Laggan-Tormore offshore development west of the Shetlands in Scotland.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said the order was "excellent news" for the Corus workforce.

The Corus pipe mill will supply the pipes to Total and its partner Dong Energy, which are investing £2.5 billion in developing the offshore gasfields.

The order, for 520 kilometres (323 miles) of pipes, will safeguard or create 350 jobs over the next two years.

Total and Corus signed a contract today at the London office of Lord Mandelson, who said: "This is excellent news for the Corus workforce at Hartlepool. Through their hard work they have won a prestigious contract to supply pipes for Total's development of gas fields in Shetland."

Energy Minister Lord Hunt said: "The west of Shetland is one of the most challenging marine environments in the UK and this new pipeline is key to opening the area up to further oil and gas developments.

"The development has already encouraged other new projects and will help ensure secure energy supplies for years to come. The project is good news for jobs and it's welcome that this important contract has gone to Corus."

Total managing director Roland Festor said: "Developing the Laggan and Tormore gas fields in 600 metres of water in the harshest environment on the UK Continental Shelf will be a major challenge and the support and expertise of suppliers such as Corus will be vital to the success of the project."

Corus chief executive Kirby Adams said: "I am delighted that Corus's world-class large-diameter Hartlepool pipe facility has been recognised through the awarding of this contract. The securing of jobs and the creation of new ones at Hartlepool are particularly welcome."

Remco Blaauw, managing director of Corus Tubes, said: "The order has been won against strong global competition based on our world leading pipe-making capability and our proven operational performance.

"We look forward to working with Total on this landmark project and we are committed to delivering a world-class pipeline solution."

The gas field project was given the green light last week following the introduction of a tax relief allowance by the Treasury. The gas fields will produce more than one trillion cubic feet of gas in the course of their life.

The allowance could provide up to £160 million-worth of tax relief for each gas field in the West of Shetland region that qualifies for the support.

The order will secure more than 250 existing jobs at Corus's site in Hartlepool for the duration of the contract and create around 100 new positions for up to a year.

Corus Tubes employs 1,750 people at its locations throughout the UK and the Netherlands.