Lowestoft: ‘Business as usual’ as SLP launches Katy platform

LOWESTOFT-based SLP Engineering has dispatched a major gas platform to be installed in the North Sea in a sign it is business as usual for the firm whose parent company is in administration.

ConocoPhillips’s Katy platform has set sail from SLP’s Lowestoft engineering facilities a year after the contract was awarded for the design and construction of the structure.

It is despite news in April that Dutch-based Smulders Group, which bought SLP out of administration in 2010, is now in administration itself following heavy losses on two North Sea wind energy projects.

But SLP managing director Paul Thomson insists it is still business as usual for SLP which is outside the banking facilities of parent Smulders Group.

Mr Thomson said: “As far as SLP are concerned it is business as usual. We are unaffected by the Smulders position. Our cash flow is still very positive. We are able to fulfil our contracts.”

He said that SLP was still trying to “strengthen its position” and find at suitable partner to support the business going forward. “SLP is confident in being able to resolve our current position,” he added.

The ConocoPhillips platform will now be installed in the North Sea and will tie in with the Murdoch Complex, which is 80 miles off the coast to the north of Norfolk via the Kelvin Platform, which was supplied by SLP in 2007. I

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t is the 10th platform that SLP has designed, built and supplied to ConocoPhillips and it is based on the SeaHarvester/SeaPony minimal facilities platform design. The design was developed under licence from Seahorse Platform Partners in Houston, which has a long and successful relationship with SLP. It is the 18th platform of its kind the firm has delivered to the oil and gas industry.

Mr Thomson said: “The project has gone to plan and has provided the perfect shop window to demonstrate the capabilities of the SLP team in excellent co-operation with the client. We are now mobilising for the offshore phase.”

The Katy platform is named after ConocoPhillips engineer Katy Osborne who was killed in a car crash in 2005.

In October SLP Engineering is due to start construction on living quarters for Nexen’s Golden Eagle North Sea project.