BiFab, the offshore wind sector and Scottish supply chain

 

About the Inquiry

During session 5, the Committee had an ongoing interest in Burntisland Fabrications (BiFab) who produce fabrications for the offshore oil, gas and renewables industry from their 3 yards in Scotland. In March 2019, the Committee received a joint letter from GMB Scotland and Unite the Union regarding the future of BiFab and the Committee decided to take evidence in April 2019 from a range of stakeholders:

The Committee sought a number of updates on this work throughout 2019 and the related correspondence is listed below. 

The Committee agreed to conduct a short inquiry in November and December 2020, which focused on BiFab, the offshore wind sector and Scottish supply chain. 

The remit of this inquiry was to investigate:

  • why BiFab has failed to gain contracts from recent offshore wind projects in Scotland, including the role of DF Barnes/JV Driver as owners of the Scottish yards and SSE and EDF as the contracting companies;
  • the role of the Scottish Government, including what investment, guarantees or loans were made and when, including the recent decision not to offer further support to BiFab; 
  • the role of Contracts for Difference and the UK Government's Offshore Wind Sector Deal as drivers for investment in the sector;
  • current state aid rules and their impact on government investment and conditionality and the potential impact of any state aid rules following the UK's exit from the EU;
  • how the leasing and planning process will be used in future to encourage developers to work more closely with the Scottish supply chain;
  • what is the Scottish Government's strategic approach to investing in BiFab and other companies in the renewable energy sector and what lessons can be learned from the BiFab situation. 


Evidence

On 23 April 2019, the Committee took evidence from:

  • Andrew Jamieson, Chief Executive, ORE Catapult;
  • Nick Sharpe, Director of Communications, Scottish Renewables;
  • Audrey MacIver, Director of Energy and Low Carbon, Highlands and
  • Islands Enterprise;
  • Andy McDonald, Director of Energy and Low Carbon Technology, Scottish
  • Enterprise;
  • Peter Welsh, Head of Campaigns, Communications and Policy, GMB
  • Scotland;
  • Pat Rafferty, Regional Secretary, Unite Scotland;
  • Bill Elkington, Director, BiFab and Chairman, The JV Driver Group;
  • Sean Power, Director, BiFab and VP Business Development, DF Barnes.

On 25 June 2019, the Committee took evidence from the Scottish Government:

Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work
Andrew Hogg, Deputy Director for Energy Industries
David Pratt, Head of Planning and Strategy, Marine Scotland


Official Report

On 23 June 2020, the Committee agreed to seek further information and to hold further evidence sessions on BiFab, the offshore wind energy sector and the Scottish supply chain.

On 24 November 2020, the Committee took evidence from:


  • Jim Smith, Managing Director, SSE Renewables;
  • Nick Sharpe, Director of Communications and Strategy, Scottish Renewables;
  • Matthieu Hue, Chief Executive Officer, EDF Renewables UK; Allan MacAskill, Director, Kincardine Offshore Wind Limited (KOWL).

On 1 December 2020, the Committee took evidence from:

  • Sean Power, Vice President, 
  • Jason Fudge, President, DF Barnes;
  • Hazel Nolan, Organiser, GMB Scotland.

Official Report

On 8 December the Committee took evidence from:

  • Simon Hodge, Chief Executive, Crown Estate Scotland;
  • David Pratt, Head of Planning & Strategy, Marine Scotland;
  • Andrew Hogg, Deputy Director, Energy Industries Division, Scottish Government.

Official Report

On 15 December the Committee took evidence from:

  • Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture; and
  • David Stevenson, Head of Energy Supply Chain.

Official Report

On 21 December the Committee took evidence from:

  • Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, and 
  • Sarah Redwood, Director Renewable Energy Deployment at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Correspondence

2019 correspondence 

The Committee held a round-table evidence session with a range of stakeholders on 23 April 2019. Following this session, the Committee received correspondence from DF Barnes and Tony Mackay, Professor of Energy Economics. 

The Committee wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work and the Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth on 26 April 2019. On 26 June, Chris Skidmore, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation wrote to the Committee.

The Committee wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work on 30 April 2019. The Cabinet Secretary responded on 1 May 2019.

On 16 May 2019 the Cabinet Secretary wrote to the Committee regarding the Offshore Wind Summit held on 2 May 2019.

On 27 June 2019, Scottish Enterprise wrote to the Committee with further information.

The Committee wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work on 27 June following the Cabinet Secretary's appearance before the Committee on 25 June 2019.

2020 correspondence

Dean Lockhart MSP attended a Scottish Government summit on these matters (on behalf of the Committee) on 16 January 2020. The Committee agreed to consider these matters again in June 2020.

At its meeting on 23 June, the Committee considered next steps in relation to BiFab, the offshore wind energy sector and the Scottish supply chain. The Committee agreed to seek further information from the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Crown Estate Scotland and DF Barnes and to hold a further evidence session when time allowed:

The Committee wrote to the UK Government on a number of further occasions:

The Committee also wrote to DF Barnes:

The Committee sought the following written updates from the Scottish Government:

GMB Scotland provided the opinion it received from Lord Davidson QC:

On 9 December 2020 the Committee wrote to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee to update it on the Committee's work.

Following the 2020 evidence sessions, the following written information was also submitted to the Committee:

On 8 January 2021 DF Barnes provided the following statement to the Committee.

Report

The Committee published its report on BiFab, the offshore wind sector and Scottish supply chain on 22 January 2021.

BiFab, the offshore wind sector and Scottish supply chain 

On 18 February 2021 the Committee received a letter from the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Fair Work and Culture regarding the sale of Burntisland Fabrications Limited (BiFab).

On 19 February 2021 the Committee received a response from the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Fair Work and Culture to the Committee's report.

On 11 March 2021 the Committee wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Fair Work and Culture. The Cabinet Secretary responded on 17 March.

On 11 March 2021 the Committee received a response from Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth.

 
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