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Technip wins £500m subsea contract from BP

First oil targeted for Q4 2015.


The UK entity of the French oil services group Technip has won a contract worth approximately £500m from BP and partners to refurbish and develop its North Sea oil installations.

Frédéric Delormel, executive vice-president and COO (subsea) at Technip, said: “This award is proof that the North Sea is still an important source of opportunities for large, technological developments. The award follows several other contract successes in the UK for Technip and further reinforces our leadership in the region, as well as our relationship with a major client.”

Among the partners for the Quad 204 project, located approximately 130km west of Shetland, are BP Exploration Operating Company (36.3 per cent), Shell UK (36.3 per cent), Hess (12.9 per cent), Statoil (4.84 per cent), OMV (4.84 per cent) and Murphy Petroleum (4.84 per cent).

The contracted work includes the removal of the existing Schiehallion FPSO and mooring system, recovery of all existing flexible risers and dynamic umbilical systems, positioning and installation of a new FPSO and associated mooring system and anchor piles, supply and installation of 21 dynamic flexible risers, and coating, welding and installation of 15 steel pipelines (totalling 50km).

Trevor Garlick, regional president of BP North Sea, said: “We are investing in North Sea assets with growth potential. The redevelopment of the Schiehallion and Loyal fields is a key part of this. We look forward to working with Technip UK to deliver what is one of the UK’s largest ever subsea installation contracts.”

Technip’s office near Aberdeen will project manage the contract and the spoolbase in Evanton, Ross-shire, will fabricate the 15 steel pipelines. The company’s facility in Le Trait, France, will produce all flexible pipelines.

The Quad 204 project was approved in July 2011, with first oil targeted for the fourth quarter of 2015.

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David Cameron's speech: a hymn to liberalism from a liberated PM

The Prime Minister spoke with the confidence of a man who finally has a full mandate for his approach. 

At every one of his previous nine Conservative conference speeches, David Cameron has had to confront the doubters. Those Tories who rejected his modernisation of the party from the start. Those who judged it to have failed when he fell short of a majority in 2010. Those, including many in his own party, who doubted that he could improve on this performance in 2015. Today, rather than confronting the doubters, he was able to greet the grateful. As the first majority Conservative prime minister for 18 years, he rightly savoured his moment. "Why did all the pollsters and pundits get it so wrong?" he asked. "Because, fundamentally, they didn't understand the people who make up our country. The vast majority of people aren't obsessives, arguing at the extremes of the debate. Let me put it as simply as I can: Britain and Twitter are not the same thing." Labour should pin that line to its profile. 

With a full mandate for his approach, Cameron went on to deliver his most unashamedly liberal speech to date. Early on in his address, he spoke with pride of how "social justice, equality for gay people, tackling climate change, and helping the world's poorest" were now "at the centre of the Conservative Party's mission". A lengthy section on diversity, lamenting how "people with white-sounding names are nearly twice as likely to get call backs for jobs than people with ethnic-sounding names", was greeted with a standing ovation. Proof, if needed, of how Cameron has changed his party beyond recognition. The former special adviser to Michael Howard, who avowed that "prison works", told his audience that prison too often did not. "The system is still not working ... We have got to get away from the sterile lock-em-up or let-em-out debate, and get smart about this." From now on, he declared, the system, would "treat their [prisoners'] problems, educate them, put them to work." 

There were, of course, oversights and lacuna. Cameron reaffirmed his commitment to a budget surplus but glossed over the unprecedented, and many believe undeliverable, that will be required to achieve it (and which may fail to do so). He hailed the new "national living wage" with no mention of the tax credit cuts that will leave the same "strivers" worse off. His "affordable" starter homes will be unaffordable for average-earning families in 58 per cent of local areas. But it is a mark of Cameron's political abilities that it was easy to forget much of this as he spoke. Like George Osborne, he deftly appropriated the language of the left ("social justice", "opportunity", "diversity", "equality") to describe the policies of the right. Cameron is on a mission to claim ownership of almost every concept associated with Labour. The opposition should not sleep easily as he does so. 

There was little mention of Labour in the speech, and no mention of Jeremy Corbyn by name. But when the attack came, it was ruthlessly delivered. "Thousands of words have been delivered about the new Labour leader. But you only really need to know one thing: he thinks the death of Osama bin Laden was a 'tragedy'". The description of Corbyn as the "new Labour leader" shows the Tories' ambition to permanently contaminate the party, rather than merely the man.

There are plenty of potential landmines ahead for Cameron. The comically lukewarm applause for his defence of EU membership was a reminder of how divided his party is on this issue. But today, he spoke as a man liberated. Liberated by winning a majority. Liberated by not having to fight an election again. Like a second-term US president, he was able to speak of how he was entering "the second half of my time in this job". Tributes to Osborne (the "Iron Chancellor) and Boris Johnson (greeted with a remarkable standing ovation) alluded to the contest to come. But whoever succeeds him can be confident of assuming a party in good health - and more at ease with the modern world than many ever thought possible. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.