WORK has started on an offshore contract which is securing hundreds of North-East engineering jobs.

OGN Group, in Wallsend, North Tyneside, has embarked on its first export contract, as well as its first for the Norwegian sector with the first cut of steel on the Nyhamna onshore gas plant project.

This is the start of a 13-month programme of construction following the award of the contract from Kvaerner two months ago.

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More than 500 skilled workers will work on the project along with project management, engineering and design professionals at OGN’s Hadrian Yard.

As part of the multi-million pound agreement, OGN will make a series of 18 pre-assembled Units (PAU’s) for the Shell-operated onshore plant. This Nyhamna project increases the capacity of the complex in Norway to allow it to export to the UK via the pipeline to Easington, County Durham.

The pipeline will supply 25 per cent of the UK's gas requirement.

In total, about 4,300 tonnes of fabricated units will be delivered by OGN with individual units weighing up to 886 tonnes.

David Edwards, the chief executive of OGN Group, said: “The first cut of steel of any project is always significant, but we are particularly proud of this project as it highlights the latest in a pipeline of work being delivered by OGN Group.

“Our reputation and ability to deliver projects on time and on budget has enabled us to deliver this sustainable approach, which secures employment and supports the North-East’s role as a key location for oil & gas industry services.”

OGN Group has helped to rebuild the region’s reputation for supplying the offshore industry since it acquired the mothballed former shipyard site in 2009.

Last year, it completed work on the UK's first custom-made North Sea oil platform for 25 years.

“We are building momentum at OGN Group working alongside respected international contractors such as Kvaerner, which is a positive sign for this business and our established supply chain," added Mr Edwards.