Painting the sunrise

Painting the sunrise

Levels of state investment announced for future oil and gas production confirm its status as a sunrise industry sure to remain prominent in the UK economy, says George Rafferty.

The constant, sometimes vociferous debate ahead of the publishing of the Government’s Energy Bill reaffirmed how essential achieving a secure and balanced energy future is to the UK.

The Bill sets out a roadmap enabling offshore renewables and new nuclear to truly take their place alongside the established and vital oil & gas sector, which will retain a key role in our future energy needs.

Recently, the Government, through the taxation structure, has shown the continued importance of the oil and gas industry to the economy and the country’s future energy requirements.

The introduction of the Brown Field Allowance to help increase lifespans of older North Sea fields is a major endorsement by the Government in the industry and acknowledges the sector’s significant contribution to the economy.

It is a common misconception that oil and gas is a ‘sunset industry’ - partly because hydrocarbon resources are exhaustive. Not so, however.

Oil and gas remains a sunrise industry and there are reserves in deep, difficult areas that can be exploited. Marginal field developments mean increased oil and gas recovery and new unexpected large discoveries never cease to amaze.

New technologies provide access to remote reservoirs and reap rewards of extended field life. Indeed, this region’s subsea industry will be a driving force in the discovery and recovery process of these resources.

Established areas of the world, such as the North Sea, also still have plenty to offer. It is estimated the UK Continental Shelf holds as much oil as has already been extracted. While oil and gas will remain central to delivering the country a balanced energy future, activity is expected to increase in the emerging sectors.

The planned £7.6bn government investment in Offshore Renewables infrastructure will inject much needed confidence in the sector.

It will provide opportunities for supply chain companies that have diversified and tailored their skills, products and services to meet the challenges of constructing and maintaining offshore wind farms. Already the subsea sector, which has a tremendous hub of companies operating out of the North East, is reaping benefits of diversification.

Having served an infant offshore wind industry, it is now integral to future projects. Other businesses are following the lead of subsea firms to enhance their offerings and be able to serve multiple energy sectors, which will bear fruit in years to come.

Oil and gas will continue to provide massive opportunities for many of these businesses for decades yet, but renewable energy can provide lucrative opportunities.

NOF Energy will continue to work closely with its members to help them benefit from opportunities being created by the energy industry and Government policy across all resources.

Our activities are driven by our proactive and industry-focused board, made up of 14 champions from the oil and gas, nuclear and offshore renewables sectors.

These innovative and knowledgeable individuals include Graham Payne of Darchem Engineering (chairman of NOF Energy), Dennis Clark of OGN Group (honorary president), Dave Armstrong of Armstrong Consultancy Services, Neil Kirkbride of Bel Valves and Paul Charlton of PDL Solutions to name but a few.

They have played a key role in developing NOF Energy’s five year strategy, which has enabled the organisation to be completely self-funded and business-focused.

The board supports the executive team at NOF Energy (myself, Joanne Leng and Clare Weirs), which also works closely with two sub-groups, Subsea North East and North East England’s renewables group, Energi Coast.

These groups are focused on highlighting the region’s capabilities and the quality of the companies operating in their sectors. All NOF’s activities centre on giving members relevant and effective business development services to help them exploit opportunities across the global industry.

George Rafferty is chief executive of NOF Energy.