WOOD has won significant contracts to support the upgrading of a giant refinery in Norway which will help the firm to reduce its reliance on the oil and gas exploration and production business.

Aberdeen-based Wood said it had been awarded “large strategic modifications contracts” covering the Mongstad refinery near Bergen by Equinor, formerly known as Statoil.

The refinery is the largest in Norway and around half its output is exported. The work under the contract will include supporting efforts to reduce sulphur content in gasoline produced at the refinery.

Wood said the contract aligns with the company’s focus on expanding in the onshore market in Norway.

Led by chief executive Robin Watson, Wood mounted a push for growth in markets such as refining in response to the challenges it faced in the upstream oil and gas market amid the crude price plunge.

This resulted in oil and gas firms slashing spending on new offshore facilities and on upgrades to existing kit in the North Sea. The fall in the oil price helped refiners increase profits.

Wood completed the £2.2 billion acquisition of Amec Foster Wheeler last year to help gain exposure to a wider range of engineering markets and extend its geographic reach.

Mr Watson noted earlier this month there had been a modest increase in activity in the North Sea from a low base following the partial recovery in the crude price since late 2016.