Oceaneering announces major expansion

By: JEAN L. KAESS

MORGAN CITY — Gov. Bobby Jindal and Oceaneering International Inc. announced Monday a 30,000 square-foot expansion of the company’s Morgan City facility, a $5 million capital investment that will support the creation of 200 new direct jobs and the retention of 1,700 existing jobs in the city.

The 200 new jobs — which will average $60,000 a year, plus benefits — will result in another 407 indirect jobs, the governor said at the Morgan City facility on Railroad Avenue Monday.

Fully 120 of the new employees will be trained for production and performance of the company’s core product: remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, that perform technical tasks and inspections at up to two miles below the surface of the sea. Another 80 new employees will provide broad support for Oceaneering in St. Mary Parish, where operations also include diving, rigging, inspection, inventory, administration, and other units.

Operations at the Bayou Vista facility will be streamlined and rolled into the Morgan City facility, according to Pat Mannina, Oceaneering’s vice president and general manager for the Americas Region. This will release Oceaneering from a lease of more than 40 years for the Bayou Vista facility.

Jindal said, “In a couple weeks, we will mark the second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill that took 11 lives, devastated our coastline and threatened thousands of oil and gas industry jobs in our state. Two years later, I’m proud to note that we are coming back from the oil spill and the moratorium even stronger and better than before.

“Today’s announcement is a sign of the progress we are making to get our people back to work so we can fuel the nation. Oceaneering’s expansion is a testament to the hardworking people of Louisiana and yet another sign that Louisiana’s business climate is one of the best in the country.”

Hiring has begun and will continue through 2012. The manufacturing expansion, which joins an existing building of approximately 100,000 square feet, will be complete in November. Altogether, Oceaneering will operate more than 200,000 square feet of facilities in Morgan City upon completion of the current expansion.

“The $5 million facility expansion illustrates the commitment Oceaneering has to its Morgan City-based business,” Mannina said. “It will also allow us to improve operational efficiencies between several service lines and further improve the quality of services we provide to our customers operating in the Gulf of Mexico as well as worldwide,” he added.

LED FastStart began working with Oceaneering earlier this year and will assist the company in screening, hiring and training new employees. Founded in Morgan City in 1964, Oceaneering initially operated as a diving company specializing in offshore oil and gas services. Now headquartered in Houston, the company operates 267 ROVs, with 70 at work in the Gulf of Mexico. Morgan City provides global ROV production for Oceaneering, and the company will continue to build ROVs in 2012.

“Ultra-deepwater production represents a key driver for the future of Louisiana’s economy,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret said in a press release. “As one of the crucial companies supporting this facet of our oil and gas industry, Oceaneering will help Louisiana benefit from increased drilling activity in offshore fields that can keep our nation’s energy strategy diversified and well-balanced. A great byproduct of that strategy for Louisiana is that Oceaneering and other firms that work in the Gulf provide some of the top-paying jobs in our state.”

Morgan City Mayor Tim Matte told Jindal that the city loves to show off Oceaneering.

They are a “problem-solving company” dedicated to creating “cutting-edge technology” as well as being a primary employer in the city, the mayor said.

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