BOSSES at a major Tyne offshore yard claim global energy giants will cause the loss of 350 North-East offshore jobs because they refused to give contracts to UK firms.
Dennis Clark, chairman of Tyneside’s OGN group, which makes frames for offshore oil and gas platforms in North Tyneside, says the losses are down to firms not fulfilling “a moral duty” to link UK drilling licences to jobs in Britain on contracts worth more than £500m.
Mr Clark said: “We will shed 350 jobs because of oil companies awarding contracts overseas.
“I gave Vince Cable the example of Shell, which did not even approach any UK companies. We also told the Secretary of State for Climate Change, Ed Davey, about this.
“The UK Government awards these licences, and I think these firms do have a moral responsibility to award contracts to UK firms.
“If we were in Norway it would not be a problem. They do not allow work to go out of Norway for their offshore, unless they are full.”
Dr Cable said: “Supply chains have not been developed in the past as they should have been and big contacts have slipped through and gone abroad.
“I’m trying to fix that, and see us think of UK suppliers in a more integrated way.
“I was appalled to discover Shell and BP just have not gone to the effort of seeking out British companies. It is an enormous missed opportunity.”
OGN is already using a section of Hadrian Yard in Wallsend to build an oil production platform for American firm Apache – a deal worth £150m which has seen about 700 workers brought to the site.
It recently announced it had been awarded £640,000 to research and build offshore wind turbine foundations in a custom-built factory.
Shell did not wish to comment.