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Aker Solutions establishes subsea engineering hub

Oilfield Technology,

Aker Solutions is transferring employees to a new subsea engineering hub in Stavanger, and is using the Aker Advantage recruitment agency to find jobs for over 200 employees affected by slow growth in Norway’s offshore maintenance and modifications market.

The company is acting to ease overcapacity in its Norwegian MMO business, which is being affected by lower demand as oil companies reduce spending plans. Approximately 100 MMO engineers will be moved to a subsea hub that is being established in Stavanger to support and ensure flawless execution of Aker Solutions' significant order backlog.

Job transfers

Aker Solutions is also offering approximately 130 employees a transfer to Aker Advantage, which will try to find jobs inside or outside the group. In September, the recruitment firm will become part of Akastor, the oilfield services investment business formed as part of the announced split of Aker Solutions.

Tore Sjursen, head of MMO at Aker Solutions, commented: "The offshore maintenance and modifications market in Norway has weakened considerably this year, causing overcapacity and weighing on earnings in the MMO segment. While the industry has seen lay-offs, we're seeking to find our employees alternative jobs within the company, the Aker group or in other firms operating on the shelf."

Statoil contract

Aker Advantage has signed a one-year framework agreement with Statoil to provide the oil company with personnel with engineering and technical experience. The contract will commence in August and covers work within mechanical completion and commissioning, process technology, mechanical technology, HSE technical services, electrical and automation technologies and life-cycle information management. It will comprise five levels of seniority, from junior consultants to leading consultants. The work will largely be carried out in Norway.

Øyvind Eriksen, CEO of Aker ASA, added: "The contract with Statoil offers opportunities to our employees and showcases our ability to provide mobility and access to competence in the oil and gas industry during fluctuating market conditions. We're fortunate that Aker Solutions in itself is a large company with other business areas that can provide job opportunities for MMO staff."

Subsea hub

The subsea hub is being set up in Stavanger, on Norway's west coast. The city is one of five locations, including Bergen, Ålesund, Kristiansund and Trondheim, where MMO staff have been affected by the slowdown. Almost all of the MMO employees that were offered a transfer accepted the opportunity to move to Aker Advantage or the subsea hub. Aker Advantage will guarantee full salaries and benefits for up to seven months while supporting MMO employees in the search for jobs.

"We're doing our utmost to avoid redundancies and take care of our employees and business, though we can't rule out layoffs if the market should worsen or we're unable to find new jobs for all employees. Maintaining the right balance between short-term capacity adjustments while preparing and positioning ourselves for the next wave of growth is a prerequisite for creating long-term shareholder value," Eriksen concluded.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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