Harland and Wolff (H&W) announce the contract award of the dry docking and Renewal / Special Periodic Survey of the Byford Dolphin Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU) by Aberdeen-based Dolphin Drilling Limited. Following on the successful completion of its sister rig the Blackford Dolphin in 2014, the Byford project is expected to commence early in 2015.

Harland and Wolff and Dolphin Drilling will implement an integrated project organisation dedicated solely to the successful execution of the project covering the many disciplines, aspects and subcontractors of the scope.

Last in Belfast during 2004/2005, this Aker-H3 design semi-submersible drilling rig will have several major modifications and upgrades including the fabrication and addition of 2 new columns and 4 buoyancy boxes for stability and deck load improvements, fitting of a new larger blow out preventer (BOP) requiring underdeck stiffening and the fabrication and installation of a new BOP control house and installation of new drill string handling equipment.

The project will also include numerous standard renewal and maintenance scopes of work such as repairs, renewals and refurbishment of pipework, steelwork, anodes, drilling equipment, electrical systems, propulsion machinery and accommodation areas. H&W have already begun an intense 3 month period of pre-fabrication where new steel sections will be constructed in advance of the rig arrival.

Director of Ship and Offshore Unit Repair, James Lappin, said “This is a significant project for Harland and Wolff and for Northern Ireland. As well as employment opportunities, the supply chain within Northern Ireland will see significant activity in support of the project. Local engineering firms will have subcontract opportunities for manufacture and supply of services, suppliers will provide vast quantities of materials, hotels and hospitality will accommodate the hundreds of specialist sub-contractors that follow these large contracts, wherever they are awarded. In short, tens of millions of pounds will flow through the local economy.”

Graeme Murray, Managing Director of Dolphin Drilling Limited, said “We are pleased to build upon the relationship with Harland and Wolff following the work completed on the Blackford Dolphin and look forward to delivering the Byford back into service following a successful renewal survey, on time and within budget.”

Encouraged by strong performances in the offshore oil, gas and renewable energy sectors, H&W have been enacting a strong recruitment drive that will take its permanent staff levels up by over 60 people. This strengthening is across the entirety of H&W, including Directors, Senior Managers, General Managers, Design Engineers, Operations Management and highly skilled workers in the manual trades. The process is expected to conclude Q2 2015 and compliments the Company’s ongoing Apprenticeship and Graduate Development Programmes.

Chief Executive Officer, Robert Cooper, said “We are pleased to continue our investment in the strength, capability and capacity of our Company. The expectations of our customers are of utmost importance to us, and this investment demonstrates our commitment to meeting those expectations.”