A NORTH-EAST subsea firm has secured the largest contract in its history to work on a £1bn UK energy development.
DeepOcean UK, in Darlington, has been awarded a contract to dig trenches for underwater cabling on the Western Link project.
The scheme will transfer 2,200MW of power, enough to serve the needs of about two million people, from Scotland to England and Wales through cables in the Irish Sea.
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DeepOcean, which has bases in Darlington and Teesport and employs about North-East 120 workers, will carry out trenching and site surveys across 357 miles of cable in depths of up to 165 metres.
Bosses say workers will use a power cable plough to dig about 264 miles of cable, which will be deployed from the Go Pegasus vessel, chartered by DeepOcean.
It will also use jet trenching on 83 miles of cabling from one of the company's mobile trenching support vessels.
Work will start later this year and is expected to be finished by 2016.
Tony Inglis, DeepOcean UK's managing director, said: “This is the largest contract in the company's history and highlights our position as a leading contractor of trenching services for long-length cable projects.
“Our large portfolio of advanced trenching assets was a key enabler to win this work.
“The project secures backlog growth and demonstrates the trust customers place in us to perform complex multi-year projects.”
The deal comes just days after DeepOcean revealed a seven-year cable laying vessel deal to boost its presence in the North Sea oil and gas sector.
It will work with Maersk Supply Services in a charter agreement for the 138-metre Damen Offshore Carrier, which bosses say will extend DeepOcean's work in laying cables across the oil and gas and renewables industries.
WHAT IS THE WESTERN LINK PROJECT?
- Bosses say the project will help the UK meet its renewable energy targets.
- They say the amount being generated in Scotland can't be moved South due to existing links running at full capacity.
- The link will use a converter station at each end to change electricity so it to be used in the National Grid.
- Converter stations will be built in North Ayrshire, Scotland, and Flintshire, North-East Wales.
- National Grid and ScottishPower Transmission are working together on the project, employing Prysmian to install underground and marine cables, and Siemens to build the converter stations.
- The link, although built to take energy from Scotland, will be capable of working in the opposite direction.