Offshore firm's future in doubt as site is advertised

The future of a Wallsend company has been thrown into doubt after the lease for its site was advertised.

Thursday, 11th February 2016, 08:28 am
Updated Thursday, 11th February 2016, 08:30 am
The lease of a former 75 acre shipyard site on Wallsend riverside has been made available.

Property agents have begun work on finding an occupant for a 75-acre site on the north bank of the River Tyne in Wallsend, which is believed could sell for millions of pounds.

But the former shipyard at Hadrian Road is currently occupied by engineering firm OGN Group, whose workforce is said to have dropped from 2,500 last year to just 35.

Bilfinger GVA has been instructed to market the site, which includes a 1,000-metre frontage on the Tyne and buildings extending to 440,000sq ft, including office accommodation in OGN House.

There are also 50 acres of cleared land available for use in association with the buildings, water frontage or potentially for new development.

The land and premises were previously used for offshore oil platform fabrication by Amec and, most recently, the OGN Group.

Danny Cramman, head of industrial agency at Bilfinger GVA, Newcastle, who is handling the marketing of the property, said: “The site, premises and extensive waterfront facilities offer a unique product to the market place and are well suited to a range of potential uses including, but not limited to, the offshore sector, general manufacturing, engineering and open storage.

“Either the whole or parts of the land and buildings are available by way of new leases for a term of years to be agreed.”

He added: “We welcome discussion with any interested party and full details are available on request.

“OGN are tenants for Hadrian Industrial Holdings Ltd who have put the lease on the market.

“The oil and gas crisis has hit the north east hard and OGN will exit the site unless they win more orders.”

Speaking at an Advance Manufacturing Forum last November, OGN chairman Dennis Clark said radical changes were needed if the North Sea’s oil and gas industry was to survive.

He said a number of measures were needed to ensure the future health of the North Sea offshore industry.

Mr Clark said: “The most frequent question I get asked over here in the UK is, ‘is the North Sea finished? It’s empty, it’s dry, it’s finished.’

“I could say, ‘yes it’s finished as a major area of industrial investment’. But, yes, it’s finished, unless the industry itself goes through a radical change.

“The way we behave, and the way we do our business, is not conducive to $40/50 oil.”

Mr Clark said for the industry to survive then development costs must be reduced by 30 per cent, the sector needs Government help, and a fair tax regime for all companies involved.