A LUCRATIVE multi-million pound contract to supply steel pipelines to support North Sea gas field operations has been secured by a North-East firm.

Pipe mills in Hartlepool have secured the deal to make a total order of 12,000 tonnes of 24 inch steel pipes from global engineers Subsea7.

The pipes will be used in the Shell Shearwater, gas field, more than 200 miles off the coast of eastern Scotland.

Over the next few months, Liberty Steel Hartlepool employees will make around 22 miles of heavy-duty piping that will lie 90 metes under the sea, helping channel millions of cubic metres of gas each day at the huge St Fergus onshore terminal in Aberdeenshire.

The mills were acquired and relaunched by Liberty in 2017 after the sites suffered badly during the downturn in the steel industry.

Job numbers have grown steadily in recent months, expanding from 120 employees to around 200 workers.

Liberty Pipes managing director, Andy Hill, said: “This is great news. The team at Hartlepool has put in a lot of hard work to get us back where we belong as an internationally significant producer of high-quality pipe.

"We’re particularly pleased by our growing relationship with Subsea7, one of the world’s leading seabed-to-surface engineering, construction and services contractors. We now feel more optimistic about our longer-term future.”

This order, along with the Subsea7 contract to provide large diameter steel pipe for Equinor’s Snorre Expansion Project off the coast of Norway, is among the largest contracts secured by the Hartlepool mill since its acquisition by Liberty.

It will ensure that both the 42 inch and 84 inch mills have full order books as the operation moves through spring. Companies in America have also sought more than 20,000 tonnes of pipe, including materials to construct chemical giant Lyondell Basell’s new showpiece plant in Texas.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill said: “This truly is fantastic news for Liberty Steel and the entire workforce, who have put so much effort into making the business viable.

“It’s not only good for Hartlepool jobs and the local economy, but it puts Hartlepool on the map both as an emerging centre of excellence for a resurgent steel industry and as a place for business to invest in.”