An Aberdeen pipeline manufacturer is moving almost half of its jobs out of the north-east in an effort to stem spiralling costs and mitigate the effects of skills shortages on its business.
Subsea pipelines maker Oil States has unveiled a £35million plan to move its manufacturing operation in Bathgate, affecting 100 jobs in Aberdeen.
The company said the new plant, located halfway between Edinburgh and Glasgow, will give the firm access to a “much wider pool of talent” for its manufacturing and production operations and reduce the company’s costs.
It will relocate staff from the Granite city down to the central belt “wherever possible” following a consultation, the company added. All employees were informed of the plans yesterday morning. The company said the move will be complete by April of next year.
The high costs of doing business in the north-east has been underlined by other North Sea companies such as the Wood Group, which announced it was slashing the rates of pay to contractors by 10% after costs had spiralled three fold in the past five years.
Other oil services firms such as Amec are also cutting the rates it pays contractors.
North-east Labour MSP Richard Baker said Oil States’ move reflected the high cost of living in the Granite city which was a leading cause of skills shortages.
He said: “It is very hard to get people to move up from other parts of the country to work in Aberdeen, although there are opportunities here, because of the high cost of living
“It will be good news for Bathgate but it not for Aberdeen, and certainly not good news if more firms follow this example.”
Jake Molloy, of the RMT union, said relocation would not improve the problem of skills shortages and called for companies to invest in training. “You could relocate to the moon and it won’t resolve the skills shortage problem. The bottom line is the industry is simply not investing in people.
“Everybody wants it off the shelf ready made, you have got to invest in skills and there’s nobody doing that,” he said.
The firm, a subsidiary of Oil States International in Arlington, Texas, will also set up a new Aberdeen-based headquarters as part of the restructuring.
It said 130 people will move from its premises in Altens to new offices to be built at Aberdeen Gateway Business Park, which will be the site of the company’s headquarters for UK, Africa and Europe.
Garry Stephen, UK Managing Director, said: “The investment that we’ve made in our UK business will ensure that Oil States can continue to compete within a global marketplace by providing us with the right facilities in the right locations.
“Clearly today’s plans will impact upon a number of our colleagues in Aberdeen who have served the business extremely well to date. We’ll be making sure that, wherever possible, we are able to relocate them to our new premises.”
Oil States specialises in the manufacture of deepwater production products and subsea pipelines.