Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Supply Chain Prospects Strong in North East; GEORGE RAFFERTY, Chief Executive of NOF Energy on the Strong Prospects for the North East Supply Chain as Opportunities Increase in the North Sea

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Supply Chain Prospects Strong in North East; GEORGE RAFFERTY, Chief Executive of NOF Energy on the Strong Prospects for the North East Supply Chain as Opportunities Increase in the North Sea

Article excerpt

THERE is no doubt that the energy sector supply chain is one of the jewels in the crown of the UK economy and, in the months and years to come, it will become an even more successful element of British industry.

In the North East in particular we have a very strong cluster of companies - many of which are members of NOF Energy - that serve the oil, gas, nuclear and offshore renewables sectors with products, skills and services that are in demand globally.

The region's subsea sector continues to be a world leader in technology and innovation and, as confidence and investment grows in the offshore renewables sector, I am convinced that companies in this region will have an increasingly significant role to play in the development of offshore wind. While the need for a balanced energy future is creating opportunities for North East companies in the emerging energy sectors, it should not be forgotten that oil and gas will remain the dominant energy resource for many decades to come.

Far from being the sunset industry that many from outside the sector believe, oil and gas has a strong future thanks, in part, to the ingenuity and innovation of technology-led companies that have been able to aid the discovery and recovery of previously hard to get at oil and gas reserves as well as being able to maximise extraction from established fields.

Contrary to many other areas of the economy, the oil and gas industry has bucked the trend of the recent economic downturn, particularly from within the supply chain, a significant proportion of which is located in the North East, and enjoyed a relatively strong last few years.

Much of this has come from the exporting of skills, products and services that have been created and honed by companies for the harsh environment of the North Sea and successfully transferred to international markets such as West Africa, the Middle East and South America where new reserves have been discovered and exploited. But now, attention is turning back to North Sea activity, which is presenting considerable opportunities for suppliers. As Oil & Gas UK reports in its 2013 Activity Survey, the UK Continental Shelf is now benefiting from record investment in new developments and improvements to existing assets and infrastructure. …

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